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Presented to 





The late Dr. Carleton Stanley 


V v^' 




T. E. PAGE, LiTT.D., and W. H. U. ROUSE, Litt.D. 




















Introduction 3 

Text and Translation 17 

Critical Notes 131 


Introduction 149 

Text and Translation 167 


Introduction 255 

Text and Translation 263 


Agricola 335 

Germama 345 


Dialogue on Oratory 355 

Agricola 363 

Germania 365 

Mai' ok Western Europe accordinc; to 

TAnTus 37 i 
Map of Germans AccouuiMi to Tacitus Jt cnil 


C O R N J] 1. 1 U S T A C I T U S 






Every one knows by what a slender thread of 
transmission some of the greatest of the Hterary 
monuments of antiquity have come down to modern 
times. Tliis is especially the case with the minor 
works of Tacitus. They have long been known to 
depend on a single manuscript, and it is part of the 
romance of their rediscovery that a portion of that 
manuscript came to light again only ten years ago in 
a small Italian town. 

Tile first trace of the existence of such a MS. 
occurs towards the end of the year 1425, when we 
find Foggio rejoicing in the offer that had been made 
him by a Hersfeld monk of a codex containing 
certain unknown works of Tacitus : aliqua opera 
Cornelii Taciti nobis ignola. But the volume never 
arrived, and Poggio left Rome (14.52) without the 
sight of it. In the interval, however, the Hersfeld 
brother crossed the Alps more than once again, and 
in the course of telling him what he thought of him 
for his failure to fulfil his promise, Poggio may have 
been able to get the facts about the book he had so 
greatly coveted. In any case, its recovery followed 
a few years before Poggio's death. It was in J 4,0 1 
that Enoch of Ascoli was sent into Northern Europe 
by Pope Nicholas V to search for Greek and Latin 
books, and notwithstanding the scepticism of some 
scholars, it has long been a generally received 
tradition that it is to this mission of Enoch's that 



we OAve the recovery of the lost works of Tacitus. 
Till recently it was understood that what he brought 
back with him to Rome in 1455 was only a copy ot 
the Hersfeld original. But here comes in an instance 
of the gradual growth of knowledge. 

When it fell to me to edit the Dialngtis for the 
Oxfoi'd Press (1893) I called attention to a neglected 
but not unimportant codex now in the British Museum, 
which contains at the end of the Suetonius fragment 
De GrcDiimaticis et lihetoribus — a treatise generally 
found in fifteenth-century MSS. bound up with the 
Dialogus and the Gennania — the words Hie anti- 
quis.sivinm exemplar finit et hoc integrum videtur} The 
obvious inference from this note was that, instead ot 
being copied by or for Enoch at Hersfeld, the anti- 
quissimuin exemplar had actually made its way from 
Hersfeld to Italy, where as a matter of fact several 
MSS. of the minor works of Tacitus were produced 
after the year 1 460. Confirmation of this suggestion 
came to hand when Sabbadini announced, in 1901, 
the discovery in an Ambrosian MS. of certain re- 
ferences which Pier Candido Decembrio (1399-1477) 
had entered in his diary, desci'ibing a manuscript 
which he says he had actually seen and handled at 
Rome in the year 1455, and which contained, in the 
following order, (l) the Gerviania, (2) the Agricola, 
(3) the Dialogus, and (4) the Suetonius fragment. 
And the sequel is even more remarkable. At the 
International Congress of Historians held at Rome 
in 1903, intimation was made of the discovery in the 
library of Count Guglielmi-Balleani at lesi, in the 
district of Ancona, of a fifteenth-century codex in 
which is incorporated a portion (one whole quater- 

1 " Here the very ancient codex comes to an end, and this 
treatise appears to be complete." 



nioii) of the Agricola from the anliqii'issimum exemplar 
(teiilh century) tliat Enoch brought from Hersfeld.^ 

The critical problems, such as they are, that have 
been raised by these discoveries cannot be dealt with 
here at any length. They centre mainly round tlie 
Dialogus. It is a testimony to the general faithful- 
ness of the tradition that the text of the Gcrmania and 
the Agricola remains on the whole undisturbed. And 
even for the Dialogus the main surviving difficulty 
turns not so much on textual problems as on the 
allocation of their parts to the various speakers, and 
the length of the great lacuna at the end of ch. S.*). 
It is with the Dialogus that I must concern myself in 
the remainder of this brief introduction. 

Tiiough its authorship was long considered doubtful, 
the Dialogus is now generally accepted as a genuine 
work of Tacitus. An obvious discre])ancyof style ^ is tlie 
only argument that might seem to lead to an opposite 
conclusion. But, on the other hand, the testimony of 
the MSS. is unanimous ; the general point of view of 
t)ie writer largely coincides with that of Tacitus as 
known by his historical works ; and there are even 
striking points of resemblance in diction, syntax, and 
phraseology. Some recent critics wish to put the date 
of the pubHcation of the Dialogus as late as a.d. 95, or 

^ See Annibaldi, VAgricola e La Oermania di Cornelia 
Tarilo nel VIS. Latino N 8 dclla hihliotcca del Conte G-Balleani 
in Icsi, Citta di Caatdlo, 1907, and tlie same editor's La 
Oermania {Lei\Y/Ag, 1910) : also Wissowa's preface to the Leyden 
facsimile (Sijthoft, Leyden, 1907). 

2 The case of Carlyle has sometimes been cited as a parallel. 
Speaking of the difference of stj-le between the Life of 
Schiller and the Diamond Necklace, Huxley says he often 
wondered whether if they had come down to us as anonymous 
ancient manuscripts, •• the demonstration that they were 
written by different persons might not have been quite easy." 
— Nineteenth Century, 1894, p. 4. 



even a.d. 97-98 (i.e. after Domitian's death), arguing 
that it shows so many signs of acquaintance Avith 
Quintilian's Institidio that it cannot have been pub- 
lished before tliat work, which apjieared in a.d. 94-95. 
But it is impossible to believe that the historian can 
have written the Dialogiis as a sort of separate effort, 
in imitation of Cicero, at the very time when the style 
which is his most notable characteristic must have 
taken on the features which it reveals in his next 
work, the Agricola. It seems much more 2:)robable 
that a long interval elapsed between the composition 
of the Dialogiis and the date at which, two years after 
the close of Domitian's sombre reign, Tacitus penned 
the biography of the great soldier whose son-in-law 
he was (a.d. 98). In the earlier treatise the author 
seeks to embody the results of those literary and 
rhetorical studies by which, following the usual 
practice of the period, he had prefaced his career at 
the bar. It must have been written either in the 
reign of Titus (a.d. 78-81), or in the early years of 
Domitian's princi])ate. The only difficulty of the 
former alternative, which is adopted by those who 
believe that Tacitus did not break the silence which 
he is known to have imposed on himself under 
Doniitian, is that it gives an interval of not more 
than seven years from the dramatic date of the 
debate ^ to which the future historian says he listened 
when '' quite a young man " {iiivenis admodum). But 

1 That Tacitus intended his readers to conceive the i)iaZo5r«e, 
so far as it had any foundation in fact, as having taken place 
in the sixth )ear of Vespasian's reign, say in the middle or 
towards the end of A.D. 74, is fairly obvious from the historical 
references in oh. 17. There is really no inconsistency in the 
calcuhition of 120 years from the death of Cicero, though that 
would bring us strictly to A.D. 77, instead of 74 : " centum 



at that time of life even seven years represent a 
great development, and the first alternative remains 
the more probable of the two. On the other hand, 
we may take tlie view, if we prefer it, that Tacitus 
had failed to discern Domitian's true character in the 
first years of his principate, or that he had the courage 
deliberately to speak out about men like Vibius 
Crispus, who, after gaining a bad reputation under 
Nero and V'espasian, still survived in the reign of their 
successors, while not failing at the same time to give 
expression to an ingenuous appreciation of the advan- 
tages inherent in the imperial system. On this sup- 
position we may put the date of the composition of 
the Dialogus as late as a.d. 84-85, when the author 
would be nearly thirty years of age. 

The real subject of the treatise, which is the deca- 
dence and dethronement of eloquence, is dealt 
with in chs. 28— tl. What goes before is introduc- 
tory. To begin with, there is tlie section (chs. 
1-t) which describes the circumstances in wliich 
the conversation narrated is pictured as having taken 
place. The scene is laid in the house of the poet- 
pleader Maternus,^ who is obviously intended to 
figure as the leading personage of the piece. Follow- 
ing the introduction comes the first part of the 
Dialogue projjcr (chs. 5-13), in which Marcus Aper, 
a self-made man from Gaul, and now one of the 
most distinguished leaders of the bar, champions 

et viginti anni'' is no doubt given as a round figure to repre- 
sent the outside limit recognised in antitiuity for the duration 
of a huin:ui life — '^ vniua /luiiunis aetas." 

1 As was probably the case with all the other interlocutors, 
Maternus was dead when Tacitus wrote. He had achieved 
fuiue under Nero (A.D. r)4-68) for a tragedy which he tells us 
"broke the power of Vatinius" (ch. 11), and has now resolved 
to forsake the bar in favour of the Muses. 


the profession of oratory against that form of elo- 
quentia which finds utterance in poetry. Aper is 
realistic, practical, and utilitarian. His attitude is in 
effective contrast to that of Maternus, whose short 
reply (chs. 11-] 3) is an eloquent revelation not 
only of a different point of view in regard to the 
question at issue, but of another way of looking on 
life. The leading note in the character of Maternus 
is moral earnestness. With him the practical advan- 
tages on which Aper had dwelt are of little weight : 
he is meditative, reflective, and idealistic. The 
second part (chs. 14-27) begins with the entrance of 
Vipstanus Messalla, a man of noble birth and wide 
accomplishments, who is known to us from the 
Histories (S, 9) as having thrown the weight of his 
great influence and high personal character into the 
scale in favour of Vespasian against Vitellius. Tliis 
part again contains two speeches, one by Aper, the 
other by Messalla. The former challenges the new- 
comer to show cause for his Avell-known preference 
for the oratory of former da3-s, and for his habitual 
disparagement of contemporary eloquence. As for 
himself, Aper does not admit any decadence or 
decline. The difference between "old" and "new" 
is to him only a relative difference, and should even 
be considered, in view of changed conditions, a mark 
of progress. Messalla, on the other hand, is the 
cham2:»ion of antiquity, a " convinced classicist," and 
his rejoinder (chs. 25-27) consists in a vigorous 
vindication of the '^ancients " and a counter-attack 
on the "moderns." He is proceeding to cite 
examples when Maternus breaks in to remind his 
visitor that the subject on which he had undertaken 
to speak was not the fact of the decline of eloquence, 
but the reasons underlying it. These, Messalla says. 


are quite obvious. Tlie prime cause, accordinfr to 
liim, is the laxity and iudifierenee whicli nowadays 
prevail in connection with the trainiui,'- of the young, 
oU'ering a strong contrast to the careful methods of 
former times (chs. 28-32). Then there is the super- 
ficial training- in the practice of declamation, Avith its 
fictitious cases and unreal atmos])here (chs. 33-35).^ 
Here Messalla's speech breaks off abruptly, and 
the problems of the Dialogue begin. A great gap 
occurs in the MSS., which cannot have exceeded in 
extent one-fourth of the whole treatise, while it may 
have been less. We have lost in this lacuna the 
closing portion of MessaUa's discourse, and in all 
probability a contribution also fi-om Secundus.^ 
When the text resumes we find a new speaker in 
possession of the debate, who to all outward ap])ear- 
ance is Maternus. The MSS. give chs. 36-41 
as one continuous whole, and there is nothing to 
disconnect the discourse from the words Finierat 
Malcrnus, with which the last chapter opens. But 
there are difficulties. It is ui'ged that if chs. 36- 
W are a continuous, they are at least not an 
artistic whole ; that, in fact, Maternus repeats him- 
self unnecessarily and even contradicts himself; and, 

1 See the interesting paper on " Declamations under the 
Empire" by Professor Summers in vol. x of the Proceedinys 
of the Classical Association (January 191.3), pp. 87-102. 

2 Julius Secundus is known to us from Quintilian (10, 1, 120 : 
3, 12) as an eloquent speaker, who lacked, however, the 
qualities of spontaneity and force. It is not out of keeping 
with his retiring disposition that, though he figures so promi- 
nently in what may be called the setting of the stage for the 
Dialofjue, he is not mentioned in the last chapter. He has 
compliments for Aper as well as for Maternus at the end of 
the tirst act (ch. 14), but as regards the real issue discussed in 
chs. 28-41, there was probably little to difterentiate him from 



furthei-j that the first part of his speech would be more 
appropriate in the mouth of Secundus. It is quite 
probable, as already stated, that something from 
Secundus may have fallen out in the great lacuna, but 
I still adhere to the traditional view v.hich gives 
chs. 36-4 1 to Maternus, the leading character of 
the piece. The attempt to split up these chapters, 
assigning 36-40, 8 to Secundus, and the rest (after 
a second lacuna) to Maternus, does not seem either 
necessary or defensible.^ Throughout the whole 
section the last speaker is dealing, not witli the moral 
decadence to which Messalla had addressed himself, 
but with the changed conditions of public life, in 
which he finds an additional reason for the decline 
of eloquence. His point of view is that while re- 
publican conditions were more favourable to oratory, 
as had been the case also in Greece, yet there are 

^ I refer in particular to Giideinan's recent effort {Classical 
Philology, Octoher 1912) to utilise the new manuscript evidence 
in support of the theory of a second lacuna. The note in 
Deceuibrio's diary tells us that after the great gap at the end 
of ch. 35 the Hersfeld arclietype still possessed "folia duo cum 
dimidio" of the Dialogus. i.e. five pages. Four of these pages 
Guderaan seeks to show would be exactly taken up by the 
text as we have it from the beginging of ch. 36 to the point 
(40, 8) at which another folio is supposed to have been lost — 
on the assumption that the character of the writing was the 
same for these pages as it is in the Agricola quaternion now 
surviving in the codex at lesi. This assumption can be shown, 
however, to be unfounded, and the theory is further negatived 
by the fact that the remainder of the text after 40, 8 would 
require two pages more instead of the one indicated by 
Decembrio. The view that what the manuscripts give as a 
continuous speech by Maternus should be divided into two parts 
must continue to rest on internal evidence only. See my 
article in the American Journal of Philology, Januarj'-March 
1913 (xxxiv. 1), pp. 1-14 ; also G. Andresen in the Wochen- 
schriftf. kluss. Philologie, February 10, 1913. 



compensatory advantages under a more stable form of 
government. It is with this consoling reflection that 
he begins what is left of his discourse, and with this he 
also ends. Eloquence thrives, he says, on disorder, 
and though there may have been more oratorical 
vigour under republican conditions, the country had a 
heavy price to pay in the revolutionary legislation of 
the Gracchi and in the death of Cicero. The settled 
calm that now pervades the State is a great compensa- 
tion for any restrictions upon the sphere of public 
ipcaking, and for this we ought to be thankful. 

To these representations Messalla would have liked 
to make a further reply in his capacity of lauchUor 
temporis acli. But Maternus promises liim another 
opportunity and the meeting is adjourned. 

As already stated, Maternus is undoubtedly put 
forward as the protagonist in the whole discussion. 
It is he Avho guides and directs the development 
of the debate, speaking for Secundus as well as 
for himself in ch. l6, bringing the real issue into 
relief in ch. 2t, recalling Messalla to his text in 
ch. 27, and prevailing on him to make a new 
departure in ch. .33. ^Iaternus is retiring from the 
jirofession partly because he has a personal pre- 
ference for jioetry, which he regards as a superior 
form of utterance {ehnjucntid), and partly because or 
the narrower limits with which forensic oratory has 
to content itself now as contrasted with former times. 
It is his attitude that takes the discussion beyond 
the bounds set for it in the question which in his 
very Hrst sentence Tacitus tells us was so often 
put to him by his friend Fabius Justus. For him- 
self, Maternus needs no proof of the superiority of 
the "ancients" (24, 11 : 27, 5). At his hands the 



representative ot modern rhetoric suffers two discom- 
fitures, — once in the discussion on the comparative 
merits of poetry and oratory, and agam in the debate 
on the "old" and the "new," 

The length of his closing speech need not excite 
any surpi-ise when it is remembered that he is in his 
own house, and that his note is the reconciliation of 
opposing tendencies. Moreover it is fairly obvious 
that Maternus is to be regarded as giving expression 
to the convictions held by the author of the Dialogits 
himself. The changed conditions both of public life 
and of forensic practice must have meant a good deal 
for both of them, and in his resolution no longer to 
suppress the personal preference he entertained for 
poetry and the muses, the poet-pleader naturally had 
the support of the future historian. 

It is accordingly in the character of Maternus- 
Tacitus that the motive and main purpose of the 
treatise are to be looked for, and it is from this that 
the Dialogus derives its unity, even in its present 
somewhat mutilated form. The various interlocutors 
in the debate present us with an interesting picture 
of the literary and intellectual conditions prevailing 
at Rome towards the end of tlie first century. Though 
full of problems, some of which have not even yet 
been fully solved, the treatise to which they con- 
tribute their several parts is a work of sur])assing 
interest, which amply deserves all the attention it 
has received from scholars during the last quarter of 
a century. The Dialogus merits the designation which 
was applied to it after its reappeai-ance in the world 
of letters : it is really an aureolus libellus. 

W. P. 

McGiLL University, Montreal 
May 1913 


The text of the Dialogns, as also of the Gennania and 
the /Igrico/n, rests ultimately on the Hersfeld arche- 
type, of which some account has been given in the 
foretjoino- Introduction. So far as the Dialosn.s is 
concerned, this original was transcribed by two 
copyists whose versions (now no longer extant) 
stand respectively at the head of what are known 
as the X family and the Y family, the former 
consisting of the Vaticnnus 1 862 (A) and the 
Leidensis (B), the latter comprising practically all 
other codd. The question has been much debated 
which of these two groups contains the more faithful 
reproduction of the archetype. Hitter ( 1 81-8) was the 
first to use the Leidensis for the constitution of his text, 
and twenty years later Michaelis, following Nipper- 
dey, relied mainly on the I'aticanits, holding that 
these two codd. had together preserved the better 
tradition. His conclusions were disputed by Scheuer 
(see the Introduction to my edition jjublished by tiie 
Oxford Press, pp. Ixxxii-lxxxix), and recent editors 
incline to rely as fully on Y as on X. In my note 
on the great lacuna (No. 56, p. 142) I take account 
of the fact that the extracts from Decembrio's diary 
are in favour of Y. But it seems safer, for reasons 
given elsewhere, to adhere to an eclectic method 
of criticism as between the two families. If any 
portion of the Dialogus had been contained in the 
quaternion of the Hersfeld archetype Avhich came 



to light, again so recently at lesi, the question might 
have been more definitely settled. But it has 
nothing except a part of the Agiicola, and as that 
treatise does not occur either in the Valicanvs or the 
Le'ulcnsis we have no adequate basis of comparison. 
It is significant also that the Agricola is not included 
in the editio piinceps, published at Venice in 1470 
by Vendelin de Spira (editio Spirensis). Obviously 
this treatise had been dissevered from the Hersfeld 
codex not long after its reappearance at Rome, and 
those into whose hands it passed were not prepared 
at once to make it common property. 

After the first edition, the text of the Dia/ogns owed 
most ofits advances, among others, to Puteolanus, who 
published his first edition at Milan in 1475, and his 
second at V^enice in 1497 ; Beroaldus (1514); Beatus 
Rhenanus (1519 and 1533); Lipsius, who brought a 
new manuscript belonging to the Y family (the 
Farnesianus) into play for his great edition produced 
at Antwerp in 15'^4, and reissued nine successive 
times up to the last Leyden reprint in 1 607 ; Pithoeus, 
whose third edition appeared at Paris in l604 
Pichena(l607); Gruter (l607) ; J. Gronovius(l672) 
Heuraann (1719); Ernesti (1752); Brotier (1771) 
Schulze (1788); Dronke (1828); Orelli (1830) 
Bekker (1831); Ritter (1848) ; and Haase (1855). 

Of these, Ritter was the first to use the codex 
Leidensis, discovered by Tross in 1841, and fortu- 
nately to-day available for students in a facsimile 
reproduction (SijthofP, Leyden, 1907). In the same 
way Ad. Michaelis, following Massmann and Nipper- 
dey, gave a prominent place to the other member 
of the X family (the Vaticanus), and made at the 
same time (1868) a scientific statement of the inter- 
relationships of all the codd. 


Since Michaelis, and apart from complete editions 
of the works of Tacitus like those of Halm (fourtii 
edition, 1889) and Miiller (1887), the following 
separate editions of the Dia/ogus may be specially 
mentioned : 

Peter (Jena, 1877). 

Baehrens (LeijiziiT, 1881). 

OrcUi-Andrcsen (Berlin, 188t). 

Goelzcr (Paris, 1887; second edition, but prac- 
tically unchanged, 1910). 

Novak (Prague, 1889). 

V'almaggi (Turin, 1890). 

Wolff ((^otha, 1890). 

Andresen (third edition, Leipzig, 1891). 

Peterson (Oxford, 1893)- 

Bennett (Boston, 1 89 1-). 

Gudeman (Boston, 1891'; smaller edition, 1898). 

C. .lohn (Berlin, I 899). 

Sehone (Dresden, 1899). 

H. Rohl (Leipzig, 1911). 
The text adojitcd in this volume is not identical 
with any previously published. In minor matters of 
orthography and punctuation I have been guided by 
the same jirinciples as thosewhieh were followed in my 
edition in the Clarendon Press Series, but otherwise 
there are important variations and divergences. In 
several passages both text and interpretation may be 
said to have gained something from further study. 
My notes have been limited, in the main, to what 
I may call residual difficulties. As for the text, it 
may fairly be regarded, after all the work done by 
critics and commentators during the last quarter of 
a century, as embodying as great a degree of finality 
as is at present attainable. yj, „ 


Oratio autem, sicnt corptis ho^nints, en demum pidchra 
est in qua non eminent venae nee ossa numerantur, 
sed tempercdiis ac bonus sanguis implct membra ct 
exsiirgit loris ipsosque nervos rubor tegit et decor 

Ch. 21, adfn. 

Ego aidem oratorem, sicid locupletem ac lautum 
patrem familae, non eo tantum vo/o tecto tegi quod 
imbrem ac vcnlnm arceat, sed etiam quod visum et 
oculos delectet ; non ea solum ijislrui supellectile 
quae necessariis usibus sujficiul, sed sit in apparatu 
eius et auruiji et gemmae, ut sumere in vianus, ut 
aspiccre saepius libeat. 

Ch. 22, ad fin. 

Neque oraioris vis et facullas, sicnt ceterarum 
reruvi, angustis et brevibus terminis cluditur, sed is 
est orator qui de omni quaestione j)ulchre et ornate 
et ad persuadendum apte dicerepro dignitate rerwn, 
ad utiliiatem temporum, cum voluptate audientium 

Ch. 30, ad Jin. 

Kam quo modo nohiles equos carsus ct spalia probant, 
sic est aliquis oratorum campus, per quern nisi liberi 
et solidi ferantur debilitatur ac Jrangitur eloquentia. 

Ch. 39. 






1 Saepe ex me requiris, luste Fabi, cur, cum i^iiora 
saecula tot eminentium oratorum ingeniis gloriaque 
floruerint, nostra j)otissimum aetas deserta et laude 
eloquentiae orbata vix nomen ipsum oratoris retineat ; 
iicque enim ita appellamus nisi antiquos^ horum 
autem temporum diserti causidici et advocati et 
patroni et quidvis potius quam oratores vocantur. 
Cui percontationi tuae respondere et tam magnae 
quaestionis pondus excipere ut aut de ingeniis nostris 
male existimandum sit, si idem adsequi non possumus, 
aut de iudiciis, si nolumus, vix hereule auderem, si 
mihi mea sententia pi'oferenda ac non disertissimorum^ 
ut nostris temporibus^ hominum sermo repetendus 
esset, quos eandem banc quaestionem pertractantes 
iuvenis admodum audivi. Ita non ingenio, sed 
memoria et recordatione opus est, ut quae a prae- 
stantissimis viris et excogitata subtibter et dicta 
graviteraccepi, cum singub diversas quidem sed prob- 
abiles causas adferrent, dum formam sui quisque et 



Dkau Justus Fadius, — Tliere is a question that you 
often j)ut to me. How is it tliat, whereas former 
ajves were so prolific of ijjreat orators, men of genicis 
and renown, on our generation a signal blight 
has fallen : it lacks distinction in elocjiience, and 
scarce retains so much as the name of 'orator/ 
which we apply exclusively to the men of olden 
lime, calling good speakers of the present day 
' pkaders,' 'advocates,' 'counsel,' — anything rather 
than 'orators.' To attempt an answer to your 
conundrum is to take up a difficult investigation, 
involving this grave dilemma : either it is want 
of ability that keeps us from rising to the same 
high standard, in which case we must think 
meanly of our powers, or it is want of will, 
and in that event we shall have to condemn 
our taste. Such an attempt I should really 
scarce presume to make, if it were my own views 
that I had to put forward, instead of rei)roducing 
a conversation between certain persons, — very good 
speakers, according to our present-day standards, — 
whom I listened to when quite a youth as they held 
high debate over this very issue. So it is not intel- 
lectual ability that I require, but only power of 
memory, in order now to recount the sagacious 
thoughts and the weighty utterances which I heard 



animi et ingenii redderent^ isdem nunc numeris is- 
denKjue rationibus persequar, servato ordine disputa- 
tionis. Neque enim defuit qui diversam quoque 
partem susciperet, ac multum vexata et inrisa vetust- 
ate nostrorum temporum eloquentiam antiquorum 
ingeniis anteferret. 
2 Nam postero die quam Curia tius Maternus Caton- 
em recitaverat^ cum offendisse potentium animos 
diceretur, tamqunm in eo tragoediae argiimento sui 
oblitus tantum Catonem cogitasset, eaque de re per 
urbem frequens sermo haberetur, venerunt ad eum 
Marcus Aperet lulius Secundus^ celeberrima turn in- 
genia fori nostri^quos ego utrosque non modo in iudiciis 
studiose audiebam^ sed domi quoque et in publico ad- 
sectabar mira studiorum cupiditate et quodam ardore 
iuvenili^ ut fabulas quoque eorum et disjiutationes et 
arcana semotae dictionis penitus exciperem^ quamvis 
maligne plerique opinarentur nee Secundo jwomptum 
esse sermonem et Aprum ingenio potius et vi naturae 
quam institutione et litteris famam eloquentiae con- 
secutum. Nam et Secundo purus et jjressus et^ in 
quantum satis erat^ profluens sermo non defuit^ et 
Aper omni eruditionc imbutus contemnebat potius 



from tlie li])s of those eminent men, reproducing 
the same divisions and tlie same arguments. The 
explanations which they severally ottered, though 
discrepant, had each something to recommend it, and 
in putting them forward the speaker reflected in 
every case his individual way of thinking and feeling. 
I shall adhere moreover to the order in which they 
actually sjioke. For the opposite point of view also 
found a champion in one who, roundly abusing the 
old order of things, and holding it up to ridicule, 
exalted the eloquence of our own times above the 
genius of the past. 

It was the day following that on which Curiatius 
Maternus had given a reading of his ' Cato,' when 
coiM't circles were said to have taken umbrage at 
the way in which he had thrown himself in the play 
heart and soul into the role of Cato, with never a 
thought of himself The thing \vas the talk of the 
town, and Maternus had a call from Marcus Aper 
and Julius Secundus, then the leading lights of the 
bar at Rome. Of both of them I can say that, — being 
passionately fond of rhetorical studies, and fired with 
youthful enthusiasm, — I made a practice not only of 
listening attentively to their pleadings in court, but 
also of attaching myself to them at their homes and 
attending them out of doors. I wanted to drink in 
their casual talk as well, and their discussions, and 
the confidences of their esoteric discourse, notwith- 
standing the many spiteful critics who held that 
Secundus was not a ready speaker, and that Aper's 
title to oratorical renown was based on ability and 
inborn talent rather than on any literary training. 
The fact is that Secundus was the master of a style 
that was idiomatic and precise and fluent enough for 
his purpose, while Aper was a ma!i of all-round 



litteras quam nesciebat^ tamquam maiorem industriae 
et laboris gloi'iam habitiirus si in/i^eniun^ eius nullis 
alienariim urtium adminicailis iiiniti videretur. 
3 Igitur lit intravimus cubiculuni Matcrni, sedenteni 
ipsumque quern ])ridie recitaverat librum inter manus 
habentem depreliendinius. 

Turn Secundus "Nihilne te" inquit, "Materne^fabu- 
lae malignorum terrent quo minus offensas Catonis tui 
ames ? An ideo librum istum adpreliendisti ut dilig- 
entius retractares et, sublatis si qua jiravae inter- 
pretationi materiam dederunt, emitteres Catonem 
non quidem meliorem, sed tamen securiorem?" 

Turn ille : " Leges tu quid ^ Maternus sibi debuerit, 
et adgnosces quae audisti. Quod si qua omisit Cato, 
sequenti recitatione Thyestes dicet ; hanc enim 
tragoediam disposui iam et intra me ipse forniavi. 
Atque ideo maturare libri huius editionem festino, ut 
dimissa priore cura novae cogitationi toto pectore 

" Adeo te tragoediae istae non satiant/' inquit 
Aper, " quo minus omissis orationum et causarum 
studiis omne tempus modo circa Medeam, ecce nunc 
circa Tliyestem consumas ? cum te tot amicorum 

^ See note 1. p. 131. 


Icarninn^, who as reffanls literature "was not so mucli 
ignorant as clisclaiiitiil^ helieviu''- that his industry 
and aj)j)licatiun would redound more to his credit if 
it were thought that Iiis natural talents did not need 
the ))roj) of any extraneous aeeoniplishnients. 

Well, on entering Maternus's room we found him 
sitting with a book in front of him — the very same 
iVom which he had given liis reading on the |)revious 
day ; whereupon Seeundus said, " Has the talk of your 
detractors no terrors for you, Maternus ? Does it not 
make you feel less enamoured of that exasperating 
Cato of yours? Or is it with the idea of going care- 
fully over it that you have taken your drama in hand, 
intending to cut out any passages that may have 
given a handle for misrepresentation, and then to 
))ul)lis!i a new edition of ' Cato,' if not better than 
the first at least not so dangerous?" 

To this he rejoined, " The reading of it will show 
you what Maternus considered his duty to himself: 
vou will find it just as you heard it read. Yes, and 
if 'Cato' has left anything unsaid, at my next 
reading it shall be supplied in my 'Thyestes ' ; for 
so I call the tragedy which I have planned and of 
which I have the outline in my head. It is just 
because I want to get the first play off my hands and 
to throw myself whole-heartedly into my new theme 
that I am hurrving to get this work ready for i)ul)liea- 

" So then," said Aper, '^ you liave not had enough of 
those tragedies of yours ? Otherwise you would not 
turn vour back on your ))rofession of speaker and 
ph-ader, and spend your whole time on plays. The 
other day it was ' Medea,' and now it is ' Thyestes' ; 
and all the wliile you are being clamoured for in the 



causae, tot coloniarum et municipiorum clientelae in 
forum vocent^ quibus vix suffeceris, etiain si non 
novum tibi i])se negotium importasses^ Domitium et 
Catonem^ id est nostras quoque historias et Romana 
nomina, Graeculorum fabulis adgregare ^." 

4 Et Maternus : " Perturbarer hae tua severitate, 
nisi frequens et adsidua nobis contentio iam prope in 
consuetudinem vertisset. Nam nee tu agitare et in- 
sequi poetas intermittis^ et ego, cui desidiam advoca- 
tionum obicis, cotidianum hoc patrocinium defenden- 
dae adversus te poeticae exerceo. Quo laetor magis 
oblatum nobis iudicem qui me vel in futurum vetet 
versus facere, vel, quod iam pridem opto, sua quoque 
auctoritate compellat ut omissis forensium causarum 
angustiis, in quibus mihi satis superque sudatum est, 
sanctiorem illam et augustiorem eloquentiam colam." 

5 " Ego vero," inquit Secundus, " antequam me 
iudicem Aper recuset, faciam cjuod probi et moderati 
iudices solent, ut in iis cognitionibus excusent ^ in 
quibus manifestum est alteram apud eos partem 
gratia praevalere. Quis enim nescit neminem mihi 
coniunctiorem esse et usu amicitiae et adsiduitate 
contubernii quam Saleium Bassum, cum optimum 

1 See note 2, p. 131. 

2 See note 3, p. 131. 



forum by the loiii;- list of your friends' cases, ami the 
e(ju<illy loiiL!,' list of colonies and country-towns for 
which you ou<4;ht to act. Why^ you could hardly meet 
all those calls even if you had not so gratuitously 
shouldered this new occupation of tackin""" on to 
(ireeklino- legends a Domitius and a Cato, that is to 
say, stories also from our own anjials, with Roman 

" I should he ffreatly put out by your harsh words," 
said Maternus, " had not frequent and constant dis- 
putation become for us by now almost a second 
nature. You on your part are never done assailing 
the poets with your invective, and I, whom you 
charge with neglect of professional duty, am daily 
retained to defend the art of ])oetry against you. 
This makes me all the more glad that we have here 
an arbitrator who will either forl)id me to write 
verse in future, or will throw his influence into the 
scale to make me realise perforce a long-cherished 
dream, and forsaking the narrow sphere of pleading 
at the bar, which has taken too much out of me 
already, cultivate the gift of utterance in its higher 
and holier form." 

"As for me," said Secundus, "before Aper de- 
clines to have me as an umpire, I shall follow the 
usual jiractice of upright and conscientious judges, 
who ask to be excused from acting in cases where it 
is obvious that one of the two parties stands higher in 
their good graces than the other. Everybody knows 
that no one is closer to me than Saleius Bassus,^ an 
old friend with whom I have enjoyed continuous 
personal association. Not only is liassus the best of 
men but lie is also a really ideal poet ; so if poetry is 

1 For Saleius Bassus and others mentioned in tlie text see 
Index of Proper Names. 



virum tuni absolutissimum poetam ? Porro si poetica 
acciisatiir, iion alium video reum locupk-tiorem." 

" Securus sit " iiujuit Aper " et Saleius Bassus et 
(juisquis alius studium poeticae et carminiim gloriam 
fovet, cum causas agere non possit. Et ego enim,' 
([iiatenus arbitrum litis huius invenimus -, non ])atiar 
Maternum societate plurium (U-fendi^ sod ijisum solum 
ajiud lios^ arguam quod iiatus ad eloquentiam virilem 
et oratoviam, qua parere simul et tuevi amicitias, 
asciscere necessitudines, complecti provincias possit. 
omittit studium quo non aliud in civitate nostra vel 
ad utilitatem fructuosius vel ad voluplatem iiicmuliiis ^ 
vel ad dignitatem amplius vel ad urbis famam pul- 
chrius vel ad totius impei'ii atque omnium gentium 
notitiam inlustrius excogitari potest. 

Nam si ad utilitatem vitae omnia consilia factaque 
nostra dirigenda sunt^ quid est tutius ^ quam earn 
exercere artem qua semper armatus pi'aesidium 
amicis, opem alienis^ salutem jiericlitantibus, invidis 
vero et inimicis metum et terrorem ultro feras, ipse 
securus et velut quadam perjietua potentia ac 
potestate munitus ? Cuius vis et utilitas rebus 

1 See note 4, p. 131, 2 See note 5, p. 131. 

3 See note 6, p. 132, * See note 7, p. 132. 

5 See note 8, p. 132. 



to be put on her defence, I do not know where 3'ou 
will find a more representative respondent." 

" Saleius Bassus may kee]) his mind at rest/' Aper 
rejoined, " and so may every one who, not being 
competent for the bar, sets his heart on the pursuit 
of poetry and on making himself famous by his verse. 
That the yAea. of being only one among many should 
be put forward in defence of Maternus is something 
that— now that we have found an arbitrator in this 
suit — I too on my side am not going to allow. No, 
1 shall make him sole defendant, to answer before 
this court to the charge that, though a born orator 
and a master of the sturdy kind of eloquence which 
would enable him to make friendships and preserve 
them, to form extended connections, and to take 
whole provinces under his wing, he turns his back 
on a profession than which you cannot imagine any 
in the whole country more productive of j)raetical 
benefits, or that carries with it a sweeter sense of 
satisfoction, or that does more to enhance a man's 
personal standing, or that brings more honour and 
renown here in Rome, or that secures a more brilliant 
reputation throughout the Empire and in the world 
at large. 

" If practical advantage is to be the rule of all we 
think and all we do, can there be any safer line to 
take than the practice of an art which gives you 
an ever ready weapon with which to protect your 
friends, to succour those to whom you are a stranger, 
to bring deliverance to jiersons in jeopardy, and even 
to strike fear and terror into the hearts of malignant 
foes, — while you yourself have no anxiety, entrenched 
as you are behind a rampart of inalienable authority 
and power? While things are going well with you, 
it is in the refuge it affords to others, and in the 



prospere fluentibus aliorum perfugio et tutela intel- 
legitur : sin proprium periculuni increpuit, non her- 
cule lorica et gladius in acie firmius muuimentuni 
quam reo et periclitanti eloquentia, praesidium simul 
ac telum, quo propugnare pariter et incessere sive in 
iudicio sive in senatu sive apud pnnci])em possis. Quid 
aliud infestis patriljus nu])er Eprius Marcellus quam 
eloquentiam suam opposuit, qui accinctus ^ et minax 
disertam quidem sed inexercitatam et eius modicer- 
taminum rudem Helvidii sapientiam elusit ? Plura de 
utilitate non dico, cui parti minlme contra dicturum 
Maternum meuni arbitror. 

Ad voluptatem oratoriae eloquentiae transeo, cuius 
iucunditas non uno aliquo momento, sed omnibus 
prope diebus ac prope omnibus horis contingit. Quid 
enim dulcius libero et ingenuo animo et ad voluptates 
honestas nato quam videre plenam semper et fre- 
quentem domum suam concursu splendidissimorum 
hominum^ idque scire non pecuniae, non orbitati, non 
officii alicuius administrationi, sed sibi ipsi dari ? 
ipsos quin immo orbos et locupletes et potentes venire 
plerumque ad iuvenem et pauperem, ut aut sua aut 
amicorum discrimina commendent. A^llane tanta 
ingentiuni opum ac magnae potentiae voluptas quam 
spectare homines veteres et senes et totius orbis 

1 See note 9, p. 133. 


protection it gives them, that its efficacy and use- 
fuhiess are most in evidence ; but wlien danger 
hurtles round your own head, then surely no sAvord or 
buckler in the press of arms givesstouter support than 
does eloquence to him who is imperilled by a prosecu- 
tion ; for it is a sure defence and a weapon of attack 
withal, that enables you with equal ease to act on the 
defensive or to advance to the assault, whether in the 
law courts, or in the senate house, or in the Emperor's 
cabinet council. What was it save his eloquence 
that enabled Eprius Marcellus a short while ago to 
confront the senate, with every one against him ? 
Ready for the fray and breathing defiance, he could 
parry the blows of the philosopher Helvidius, who for 
all his clever speaking was, as regards that sort of 
contest, an inexperienced novice. I need say no 
more under the head of practical advantage, for here 
my friend Maternus is not at all likely, I take it, to 
join issue with me. 

" I pass to the satisfaction which eloquence affords. 
It is not for a single instant only that its delights are 
ours, but almost every day of the week, nay almost 
every hour of the day. What greater gratification can 
there be for a free-born gentleman, fashioned by 
nature for lofty pleasures, than to see his house filled 
to the door every day with a company of persons of the 
highest rank, and to know that he owes this compli- 
ment not to his wealth, not to his childless condition, 
not to the fact that he holds some office or other, but 
to himself.^ Why, people who have no one to leave 
their money to, and the rich and the great, are always 
coming to the barrister, young and poor though he may 
be, to get him to take up their own cases or those of 
their friends. Can vast wealth or great power bring 
with it any satisfaction comparable to the sight of grave 


gratia subnixos in siimma rei'um omnium abundantia 
confitentes id quod ojitimum sit se non liabere ? lam 
vero qui togatorum comitatus et egressus ! quae in 
publico siiccies ! quae in iudiciis veneratio ! quod illud 
gaudium consurgendi adsistendique inter tacentes 
et in unum conversos ! coire populum et circumfundi 
coram et accipere adfectum, qucmcumque orator in- 
duerit ! Vulgata dicentium gaudia et imperitorum 
quoque oculis ex])osita percenseo : ilia secretiora et 
tantum ipsis orantibus nota maiora sunt. Sive ac- 
curatam meditatamque i)rofert orationem^ est quod- 
dam sicut ipsius dictioniSj ita gaudii pondus et 
constantia ; sive novam et recentem curam non sine 
aliqua trejiidatione animi attulerit^ ipsa sollicitudo 
commendat eventum et lenocinatur voluptati. Sed 
extemporalis audaciae atque ipsius temeritatis vel 
praecipua iucunditas est ; nam in ingenio quoque, 
sicut in agi'o, quamquam grala quae diu serantur atque 
elaborentur,^ gratiora tamen quae sua sponte nascuntur. 
^ Equidem, ut de me i )so fatear, non eum diem 
laetiorem egi quo mihi latus clavus oblatus est, vel 
quo homo novus et in civitate minime favorabili natus 
quaesturam aut tribunatum aut praeturam accepi, 
1 See note 10, p. 133. 


and reverend seniors, men with the whole world at 
their feet, freely owning that, though in cireunistanees 
of the utmost affluence, they lack the greatest gift of 
all ? Just look, again, at the imposing retinue of clients 
tliat follows you when you leave your house ! What a 
brave show you make out of doors ! What an amount 
of deference is paid to you in the law courts ! What 
a supreme delight it is to gather yourself to your feet, 
and to take your stand before a hushed audience, that 
has eyes only for you ! And the growing crowd streams 
round about the speaker, and takes on any mood in 
Avhich he may care to wrap himself, as with a cloak. 
It is the notorious delights of speech-making that I 
am enumerating, — those that are full in view even of 
the uninitiated ; but there is far more in those that are 
not so obvious, and that are known only to the orator 
himself. If he comes out with an elaborate oration 
which has been carefully rehearsed, his feeling of 
satisfaction, like the discourse itself, has about it 
something solid and abiding ; if again he happens to 
pi-oduce — not without a feeling of nervousness — some 
new composition, just off the stocks, his very anxiety 
deepens the impression produced and enhances the joy 
of success. But quite the most exquisite delight comes 
from speaking extempore, in bold fashion and even 
with a touch of daring ; for the domain of intellect is 
like a piece of ground under tillage, — though you 
find pleasure in what takes a long time to sow and 
cultivate, yet the growth that comes by nature is 
more pleasing still. 

" Let me make this avowal about my own case. The 
day on which I was invested with the robe of a senator, 
or that on which I was elected quaestor, or tribune, 
or praetor, though a man of new birth and a native 



quam eos quibusniihi pro mediocritate huius quantul- 

aecunique in diccndo facultatis aut reuni ))rospere 
defendere, aut apiul centum viros ^ causam aliquam 
feliciter orare, aut apud piinci2:)em ipsos illos libertos 
et procuratores principum tueri et defendere datur. 
Turn mihi sujn*a ti'ibunatus et praeturas et consulatus 
ascendere videor, turn liabere quod^ si non ullro oritur,^ 
nee codicillis datur nee cum gratia venit. Quid ? fama 
et laus cuius artis cum oratorum gloria comparanda 
est ? Quinam inlustriores ^ sunt in url)e non solum 
apud negotiosos et rebus intentos, sed etiam apud 
iuvenes vaeuos^ et adulescentes^ quibus modo et recta 
indoles est et bona spes sui ? Quorum nomina prius 
parentes liberis suis ingerunt ? Quos saepius vulgus 
quoque imperitum et tunicatus hie jiopulus transeuntes 
nomine vocat et digito deraonsti'at ? Advenae quoque 
et peregrini iam in municipiis et coloniis suis auditos, 
cum primum urbeni attigerunt, requirunt ac velut 
adgnoscei'e concupiscunt. 
8 Ausim contendere Marcellum hunc Eprium, de quo 

1 See note 11, p. 183. 2 See note 12, p. 133. 

3 See note 13, p. 134. * See note 14, p. 134. 



of a community which is not at all popular at Rome, — 
such days have been in no greater degree red-letter 
days for me than those on which I enjoy the oppor- 
tunity, to the modest extent of my poor ability as a 
speaker, of securing an acquittal in a criminal trial, 
or of pleading some case successfully before the cen- 
tumviral court,^ or of undertaking the defence of some 
redoubtable freed man or imperial agent in the Em- 
peror's presence-chamber. Then it is that I feel I 
am rising above the level of a tribune, a praetor, or 
even a consul, and that 1 possess an asset which, unless 
it comes unbidden, cannot either be conferred by 
letters-patent or follow in the train of popular favour. 

" Wh}', where is there a profession whose name and 
fame are to be compared with renown in oratory ? 
What class of men enjoys greater prestige here in 
Rome than our public speakers, in the eyes not only 
of busy men, engrossed in affairs, but also of younger 
persons, who have leisure, and of those too who 
have not yet come to man's estate, — provided always 
that they are of good natural disposition and have 
some outlook? Are there any whose names are 
dinned at an earlier age by parents into their children's 
ears? Are there any to whom the plain man 
in the street, our citizens in their working-clothes, 
more frequently point as they pass by, saying, ' There 
goes So-and-so ' ? Visitors also and non-residents, as 
soon as they set foot in the capital, ask for the men 
of whom in their country-towns and colonies they 
have already heard so much, and are all agog to 
make them out. 

" I would make bold to affirm that our friend Eprius 
Marcellus, of whom I have just been speaking, and 

1 See note 11, p. 133. 

c 33 

modo locutus sum^et Crispum Vibium (libentius enim 
novis et recentibus quam remotis et oblitteratis ex- 
emplis utor) non minus nolos'^ esse in extremis partibus 
terrarum quam Capuae aut Vercellis, ubi nati dicun- 
tur. Nee hoc illis alterius bis, alterms ter milies sest- 
ertium praestat^ quamquam ad has ipsas opes possunt 
videri eloquentiae beneficio venisse, sed ipsa elo- 
quentia; cuius numen et caelestis vis multa quidem 
omnibus saeculis exempla edidit, ad quam usque fort- 
unam homines ingenii viribus pervenerint, sed haec, 
ut supra dixij proxima et quae non auditu cognos- 
cenda, sed oculis spectanda haberemus. Nam quo 
sordidius et abiectius nati sunt quoque notabilior 
paupertas et angustiae rerum nascentes eos circum- 
steteruntj eo clariora et ad demonstrandam oratoriae 
eloquentiae utilitatem inlustriora exempla sunt^ quod 
sine commendatione natal ium^ sine substantia facult- 
atum, neuter moribus egregius, alter habitu quoque 
corporis contemptus, per multos iam annos potent- 
issimi sunt civitatis ac, donee libuit^ principes fori, 
nunc principes in Caesaris amicitia agunt feruntque 
cuncta^ atque ab ipso principe cum quadam reverentia 

See note 15, p. 134. 


Vibius Crispus (I prefer to cite instances that are fresh 
and of recent date rather than those which are so far 
back as to be half-forgotten), are just as well known 
in the uttermost parts of the earth as they are at 
Capua or Vercellae, which are mentioned as the places 
of their birth. And it is not their great wealth that 
they have to thank for this, — 200 millions of sesterces ^ 
in the one case and 300 ^ in the other, — though it would 
be possible to hold that it is to their eloquence that 
they owe that wealth : no, what makes them famous 
is simply their eloquence. In all ages the divine 
influence and supernatural power of eloquence have 
given us many illustrations of the high position to 
which men have climbed by sheer intellectual capa- 
city ; but these are cases which, as I have said 
already, come home to us, and it has been voucli- 
safed us to see them with our own eyes instead ot 
learning of them by hearsay. The meaner and the 
more humble was the origin of those two men, and 
the more notoi-ious the poverty and want that hemmed 
in their young lives, so the more brightly do they 
shine as conspicuous examples of the practical advan- 
tage of oratorical power. Though they had none 
of the recommendations of birth or the resources of 
wealth, though neither of the two was of pre- 
eminently high moral character, while one ot 
them had an exterior that made him even an object 
of derision, yet after being now for many years the 
most powerful men in Rome, and — so long as they 
cared for such success — leaders of the bar, they take 
to-day the leading place in the Emperor's circle of 
friends, and get their own way in everything. And 
by Vespasian himself they are regarded with an 
affection that is not unmixed with deference ; for 

1 About £1,700,000. a About £2,550,000. 



diliguntur; quia Vespasianus^ venerabilis senex et 
patientissimus veri^ bene intellegit ceteros quidem 
amicos suos iis niti quae ab ipso acceperint quaeque 
ipsi 1 accumulare et in alios congerere promptum sit, 
Marcellum autem et Crispum attulisse ad amicitiam 
suam quod non a priucipe acceperint nee accipi possit. 
Minimum inter tot ac tanta locum obtinent imagines 
ac tituli et statuae, quae neque ipsa tamen negleg- 
untur, tarn hercule quam divitiae et opes, quas 
facilius invenies qui vituperet quam qui fastidiat. 

His igitur et honoribus et ornamentis et facult- 
atibus refertas domos eorum videmus qui se ab 
ineunte adulescentia causis fo'-ensibus et oratorio 
studio dederunt. 
9 Nam carmina et versus, quibus totam vitam 
Maternus insumere optat (inde enim omnis fluxit 
oratio), neque dignitatem ullam auctoribus suis con- 
ciliant neque utilitates alunt ; voluptatem autem 
brevem, laudem inanem et infructuosam conse- 
quuntur. Licet haec ipsa et quae deinceps dicturus 
sum aures tuae, Materne, respuant, cui bono est si 
apud te Agamemnon aut lason diserte loquitur? 
Quis ideo domum defensus et tibi obligatus vedit ? 
Quis Saleium nostrum, egregium poetam vel, si hoc 
honorificentius est, praeclarissimum vatem, deducit 

1 See note 16, p. 13i. 


our aged and venerable Emperor, who never shuts his 
eyes to facts, is well aware that while all the rest 
of his favourites owe their position to the advan- 
tages they have received from him, — advantages 
which he finds it quite easy to amass for himself and 
to lavish on others, — Marcellus and Crispus, on the 
other hand, have brought to the friendship that unites 
them to him an element which they never got from 
an Emperor and which is absolutely incommunicable. 
Alongside of these many great achievements, 
medallions and inscriptions ^ and statues are of very 
little account ; and yet even these are not to be 
lightly regarded, any more than wealth and riches, 
which you will always find men more ready to 
denounce than to disdain. 

" Such then are the honours and distinctions and 
resources which we find to repletion in the houses of 
those who from youth up have dedicated themselves 
to the practice of law and the profession of oratory. 

" As for poetry and verse-making, to which Mater- 
nus is eager to devote the whole of his life — for that 
was the starting-point of this talk — they neither bring 
their author any higher standing nor do they advance 
his material interests ; and the satisfaction they 
furnish is as short-lived as their fame is empty and 
profitless. Very likely you will not relish what I am 
saying, Maternus, or what I intend to state in the 
course of my argument ; but I ask all the same, 
When an Agamemnon or a Jason talks well in one 
of your plays, who profits by that } Does any 
one gain a verdict by it, and feel beholden to 
you accordingly, as he goes home .'' Take our 
friend Saleius, a first-rate poet, or — if that is a 
more complimentary designation — a most illus- 
1 See note 17, p. 134. 



aut salutat aut prosequitur ? Nempe si amicus eius, 
si propinquus, si denique ipse in aliquod negotium 
inciderit, ad hunc Secundum recurret aut ad te, 
Materne, non quia poeta es, neque ut pro eo versus 
facias ; hi enim Basso domi nascuntur, pulchri quidem 
et iucundij quorum tamen hie exitiis est, ut cum toto 
annOj per omnes dies, magna noctium parte unum 
librura excudit et elucubravit, rogare ultro et ambire 
cogatur ut sint qui dignentur audire,etne id quidem 
gratis ; nam et domum mutuatur et auditorium ex- 
struit et subsellia conducit et libellos dispergit. Et 
ut beatissimus recitationem eius eventus prosequatur, 
omnis ilia laus intra unum aut alterum diem, velutin 
herba vel flore praecerpta^, ad nullam certam et solid- 
am pervenit frugem, nee aut amicitiam inde refert 
aut clientelam aut mansurum in animo cuiusquam 
beneficium, sed clamorem vagum et voces inanes et 
gaudium volucre. Laudavimus nuper ut miram et 
eximiam Vespasiani liberalitatem, quod quingenta 
sestertia Basso donasset Pulchrum id quidem, in- 
dulgentiam principis ingenio mereri : quanto tamen 
pulchrius, si ita res familiaris exigat, se ipsum colere, 
suum genium ^ propitiare, suam experiri liberalitatem ! 
Adice quod poetis, si modo dignum aliquid elaborare 

1 See note IS, p. 134. 2 See note 19, p. 134. 



trious bard : does any one escort him to his house, or 
wait on him to pay his respects, or follow in his 
train? Why surely, if any of his friends or relatives 
gets into trouble, or even himself, he will hie him to 
you, Secundus, or to you, Maternus, — not because 
you are a poet, or with any idea of getting you to 
write verses in his defence : Bassus has his own 
homesupply of these, and pretty, charming verses they 
are, though the upshot of them all is that, when he has 
concocted after long lucubration a single volume in 
a whole year, working every day and most nights as 
well, he finds himself obliged to run round into the 
bargain and beg people to be kind enough to come 
and form an audience. That too costs him some- 
thing, for he has to get the loan of a house, to fit up 
a recitation-hall, to hire chairs, and to distribute 
programmes. And even supposing his reading is a 
superlative success, in a day or two all the glory of 
it passes away, like a plant culled too soon in the 
blade or the bud, without reaching any real solid 
fruitage : what he gets out of it is never a friend, 
never a client, never any lasting gratitude for a 
service rendered, but only fitful applause, empty 
compliments, and a satisfaction that is fleeting. We 
were full of praise the other day for Vespasian's 
striking and extraordinary generosity in pi-esenting 
Bassus with five hundred thousand sesterces.^ And 
to win for oneself by one's ability the favour of an 
Emperor is, no doubt, a fine thing ; but how 
much finer is it, if the low state of one's 
fortune should make it necessary, to pay court to 
oneself instead, to be one's own good genius, and to 
make trial of one's own bounty ? And there is more. 
A poet, when he is minded laboriously to produce 

1 About £4250. 



et efficere velint, relinquenda conversatio amicorum 
et iucundjtas urbis, deserenda cetera officia, utque 
ipsi dicunt, in nemora et lucos^ id est in solitudinem 
secedendum est. 
10 Ne opinio quidem et fama^cui soli serviunt et quod 
unum esse pretium oranis laboris sui fatentur, aeque 
poetas quani oratores sequitur^ quoniam mediocres 
poetas nemo novit, bonos pauci. Quando enim 
rarissimarum ^ recitationum fama in totam urbem 
penetrat, nedum ut per tot provincias innotescat.? 
Quotus quisque, cum ex Hispania vel Asia, ne quid 
de Gallis nostris loquar, in urbem venit, Saleium 
Bassum requirit ? Atque adeo si quis requirit, ut 
semel vidit, transit et contentus est, ut si picturam 
aliquam vel statuam vidisset. Neque hunc meum 
sermonem sic accipi volo tamquam eos quibus natura 
sua oratorium ingenium denegavit deterream a car- 
minibus, si modo in hac studiorum parte oblectare 
otium et nomen inserere possunt famae. Ego vero 
omnem eloquentiam omnesque eius partes sacras et 
venerabiles puto, nee solum cothm-num vestrum aut 
heroici carminis sonum, sed lyricorum quoque iuc- 
unditatem et elegorum lascivias et iamborum amari- 
tudinem et epigrammatum lusus et quamcumque 

1 See note 20, p. 135. 


some creditable composition, has to turn his back on 
the society of friends and on all the charms of city- 
life ; abandoning every other function, he must retire 
into the solitude, as poets themselves say, of tlie 
woods and the groves. 

" Nor is it even the case that a great name and 
fame, which is the only object they strive for, pro- 
testing that it is the one reward of all their toil, falls 
to the lot of poets as much as of orators : average 
poets no one knows, and good poets but few. Why, 
take your public readings, few and far between as 
they are : when do they get noised abroad throughout 
the capital, to say nothing of coming to be known in 
the various provinces ? How very seldom it is that, 
when a stranger arrives in Rome from Spain or Asia 
Minor, not to mention my own native land of Gaul, 
he makes inquiry after Saleius Bassus ! And if anyone 
does happen to ask for him, when once he has clapped 
eyes on the poet, he passes on his way, quite satis- 
fied, — ^just as if it had been a picture or a statue that 
he had seen. Nov/ I do not want you to take what 
I am saying as though I am trying to frighten away 
from verse composition those who are constitutionally 
devoid of oratorical talent, if they really can find 
agreeable entertainment for their spare time in this 
branch of literatui'e, and gain for themselves a 
niche in the temple of fame. My belief is that there 
is something sacred and august about every form and 
every department of literary expression : I am of the 
opinion that it is not only your tragic buskin or the 
sonorous epic that we ought to exalt above the pursuit 
of non-literary accomplishments, but the charm of 
lyric poetry as well, and the wanton elegy, the biting 
iambic, the playful epigram, and in fact all the other 


aliam speciem eloquentia habeat anteponendam 
ceteris aliarum artium studiis ^ ci*edo. Sed tecum 
mihi, Materne, res est, quod, cum natura tua in 
ipsam arcem eloquentiae ferat^, errare mavis et summa 
adepturus in levioribus subsistis. Vt si in Graecia 
natus esses, ubi ludicras quoque artes exercere 
honestimi est, ac tibi Nicostrati robur ac vires di 
dedissent, non paterer inmanes illos et ad pugnam 
natos lacertos levitate iaculi aut iactu disci vanescere, 
sic nunc te ab auditoriis et theatris in forum et ad 
causas et ad vera pi-oelia voce, cum praesertim ne 
ad illud quidem confugere possis, quod plerisque 
patrocinatur, tamquam minus obnoxium sit ofFendere 
poetarum quam oratorum studium. Effervescit enim 
vis pulcherrimae naturae tuae, nee pro amico aliquo, 
sed, quod periculosius est, pro Catone offendis. Nee 
excusatur ofFensa necessitudine officii aut fide advo- 
cationis aut fortuitae et subitae dictionis impetu : 
meditatus videris hanc^ elegisse personam notabilem 
et cum auctoritate dicturam. Sentio quid responderi 
possit : hinc ingentes existere adsensus, haec in ipsis 
auditoriis praecipue laudari et mox omnium sermo- 

1 See note 21, p. 135. 

2 See note 22, p. 135. 

3 See note 23, p. 135. 



forms in which literature finds utterance. My quarrel 
is with you, Maternus, and it is this : though your 
natural gifts point upwards to the true pinnacle of 
eloquence, you prefer to wander in byjiaths, and 
when you could easily reach the top you loiter over 
comparatively trivial pursuits. If you had been a 
Gi-eek, a native of a country where it is quite respect- 
able to practise the arts that serve only for pastime, 
and if heaven had given you the great bodily strength 
of a Nicostratus, I should protest against allowing your 
brawny arms, framed for combats in the arena, to be 
thrown away on the tame sport of hurling the javelin 
or the discus ; and in the same way now I am trying 
to get you away from the lecture-hall and the stage 
to the forum and to the real contests of actions-at- 
law. And all the more since you cannot shelter 
yourself behind the plea which helps out so many, 
namely, that people are less likely to take umbrage 
at the professional activity of the poet than at that 
of the public speaker. Why, your generous tem- 
perament is up in a blaze at once, and it is not in 
defence of a friend that you make yourself objection- 
able, but, what is more dangerous, in defence of Cato. 
And the offence you give cannot be held excused 
by the obligation to render a friendly service, or by 
loyalty to a client, or by the excitement of an un- 
premeditated utterance, made off-hand ; no, it looks as 
if of set purpose you had selected that characteristic 
personality, whose words would have great weight. 
I know what can be said on the other side . it is this 
that excites unbounded applause, it is this that in the 
recitation-room promptly secures great commenda- 
tion and afterwards becomes the theme of universal 



nibus ferri. Tolle igitur quietis et securitatis ex- 
cusationem, cum tibi sumas adversarium superiorem. 
Nobis satis sit privatas et nostri saeculi controversias 
tuerij in quibus si quando ^ necesse sit pro periclitante 
ami CO potentiorum aures offend ere, et probata sit 
fides et libertas excusata." 
1 1 Quae cum dixisset Aper acrius, ut solebat, et in- 
tento ore, remissus et subridens Maternus " Paran- 
tem" inquit "^me non minus diu accusare oratores 
quam Aper laudaverat (fore enim arbitrabar ut a 
laudatione eorum digressus detrectaret poetas atque 
carminum studium prosterneret) arte quadam mitig- 
avit, concedendo iis qui causas agere non possent ut 
versus facerent. Ego autem sicut in causis agendis 
efficere aliquid et eniti fortasse possum, ita recitatione 
tragoediarum et ingredi famam auspicatus sum, cum 
quidem pr'mcipe Nerone ^ improbam et studiorum 
quoque sacra profanantem Vatinii potentiam fregi, et 
hodie si quid in nobis notitiae ac nominis est, magis 
arbitror carminum quam orationum gloria partum. 
Ac iam me deiungere a forensi labore constitui, nee 
comitatus istos et egressus aut frequentiam salut- 
antium concupisco, non magis quam aera et imagines, 
quae etiam me nolente in domum meam inruperunt. 

1 See note 2-t, p. 135. 

2 See note 25, p. 136. 



remark. Away then with the plea that what you 
want is peace and quietness, seeing that you delibe- 
rately choose an adversary who is so much above you. 
For us orators let it suffice to play our j)arts in private 
and present-day controversies, and if in these it is 
at times incumbent^ in defence of a friend who is in 
jeopardy, to say what is displeasing to the powers 
that be, may we win commendation for our loyalty and 
indulgence for our outspokenness." 

Aper's words were, as usual with him, somewhat 
vehement in their tone, and his face was hard set. 
When he had finished, Maternus replied blandly, and 
with a quiet smile : " I was getting ready to make 
my impeachment of the orators as thoroughgoing as 
Aper's eulogy had been ; for my expectation was that 
he would turn from that eulogy to disparage poets 
and lay the pursuit of poesy in the dust. But he 
quite cleverly disarmed me by yielding the point that 
verse comjjosition may be indulged in by anyone 
who would not make a good lawyer. Now while I 
might possibly accomplish something, though 
not without etfoi't, as a barrister, yet on the other 
hand it was by dramatic readings that I took the first 
step on the path of fame, Avhen in Nero's reign I 
broke the power of Vatinius, that unconscionable 
usurper who was desecrating even the sanctity of 
letters ; and any reputation or renown I may jjossess 
to-day is due, I fancy, to the fame of my poetry rather 
than to my speeches. And now I have determined 
to throw off the yoke of my practice at the bar. The 
retinue that attends you when you go out of doors, 
and the crowd of morning callers have no charms for 
me, any more than the bronze medallions which even 
against my will have forced their way into my house. 


Nam statum hucusque ac securitatem melius innoe- 
entia tueor ^ qiiam eloquentia, nee vereor ne mihi 
umquam verba in senatu nisi pro alterius discrimine 
facienda sint. 
1 2 Nemora vero et luci et secretum ipsum, quod Aper 
increpabatj tantam mihi adferunt voluptatem ut inter 
praecipuos carminum fructus numerem quod non in 
strepitu nee sedente ante ostium litigatore nee inter 
sordes ac lacrimas reorum componuntur, sed secedit 
animus in loca pura atque innocentia fruiturque 
sedibus sacris. Haec eloquentiae primordia, haec 
penetralia : hoc primum habitu cultuque commoda 
mortalibus in ilia casta et nullis contacta vitiis pec- 
tora influxit; sic oracula loquebantur. Nam lucrosae 
huius et sanguinantis eloquentiae usus recens et malis 
moribus natus, atque, ut tu dicebas, Aper, in locum 
teli repertus. Ceterum felix illud et, ut more nostro 
loquar, aureum saeculum, et oratorum et criminum 
inops, poetis et vatibus abundabat, qui bene facta 
canerent, non qui male admissa defenderent. Nee 
ullis aut gloria maior erat aut augustior honor, primum 
apud deos, quorum proferre responsa et interesse 
epulis ferebantur, deinde apud illos dis genitos 

* See note 26, p. 136. 


So far as I have gone I find in uprightness a readier 
protection than in eloquence for my personal standing 
and my peace of mind ; and I am not afraid of ever 
having to address the senate except in the interests 
of some one else who is in jeopardy. 

" As for the woods and the groves and the idea of a 
quiet life, which came in for such abuse from Aper, 
so great is the joy they bring me that I count it 
among the chief advantages of poetry that it is 
not written amid the bustle of the city, with 
clients sitting in wait for you at your own front door, 
or in association with accused persons, shabbily 
clothed and weeping for all they are worth : no, the 
poetic soul withdraws into the habitations of purity 
and innocence, and in these hallowed dwellings finds 
its delight. Here is the cradle of eloquence, here its 
holy of holies ; this was the form and fashion in which 
the faculty of utterance first won its way with mortal 
men, streaming into hearts that were as yet pure and 
free fi-om any stain of guilt ; poetry was the language 
of the oracles. The gain-getting rhetoric now in 
vogue, greedy for human blood, is a modern inven- 
tion, the product of a depraved condition of society. 
As you said yourself, Aper, it has been devised for 
use as a weapon of offence. The age of bliss, on the 
other hand, the golden age, as we poets call it, knew 
nothing of either accusers or accusations ; but it had 
a rich crop of poets and bards, who instead of defend- 
ing the evil-doer chanted the praises of those that did 
well. And to none was greater fame or inore exalted 
rank accorded ihan to them, first in high heaven 
itself; for they were the prophets, it was said, of the 
oracles of the gods, and were present as guests at 
their banquets ; and thereafter at the courts of god- 



sacrosque reges, inter quos neminem causidicum, sed 
Orphea et Linum ac, si introspicere altius veils, ipsum 
Apollinem accepimus. Vel si haec fabulosa nimis et 
composita videntur, illud certe mihi concedes, Aper, 
non minorem honorem Homero quam Demostheni 
apud posteios, nee angustioribus terminis famam 
Euripidis aut Sophoclis quam Lysiae aut Hyperidis 
includi. Plures hodie reperies qui Ciceronis gloriam 
quam qui Vergilii detrectent, nee ullus Asinii aut 
Messallae liber tam inlustris est quam Medea Ovidii 
aut Varii Thyestes. 

Ac ne fortunam quidem vatum et illud felix contub- 
ernium comparare timuerim cum inquieta et anxia 
oratorum vita. Licet illos certamina et pericula sua 
ad consulatus evexerint, malo securum et quietum 
Vergilii secessunij in quo tamen neque apud divum 
Augustum gratia caruit neque apud populum Roman- 
um notitia. Testes Augusti epistulae, testis ipse 
populus, qui auditis in theatre Vergilii versibus sur- 
rexit universus et forte praesentem spectantemque 
Vergilium veneratus est sic quasi Augustum. Ne 
nostris quidem temporibus Secundus Pomponius Afro 
Domitio vel dignitate vitae vel perpetuitate famae 
cesserit. Nam Crispus iste et Marcellus, ad quorum 
exempla me vocas, quid habent in hac sua fortuna 
concupiscendum } quod timent, an quod timentur ? 



born holy kings, in whose company we nevei* hear of 
a pleader, but of an Orpheus, a Linus, and, if you 
care to go further back, Apollo himself. If you 
think there is too much legend and fiction about all 
this, you surely will admit, Aper, that Homer has 
been revered by after ages just as much as Demos- 
thenes, and that the fame of Euripides or Sophocles 
is not confined to narrower limits than that of Lysias 
or Hyperides. And to-day you will find a larger 
number of critics ready to disparage Cicero's reputa- 
tion than Virgil's ; while there is no published oration 
of Asinius or Messalla so celebrated as the ' Medea ' 
of Ovid or the ' Thyestes ' of Varius. 

" Nor should I hesitate to contrast the poet's lot in 
life and his delightful literary companionships with 
the unrest and anxiety that mark the orator's career. 
What though in his case a consulship be the crown 
of all the contests and lawsuits he so dearly loves : 
for my part I would rather have the seclusion in 
which Virgil lived, tranquil and serene, without for- 
feiting either the favour of the sainted Augustus, or 
popularity with the citizens of Rome. This is vouched 
for by the letters of Augustus, and by the behaviour 
of the citizens themselves ; for on hearing a quotation 
from Virgil in the course of a theatrical performance, 
they rose to their feet as one man, and did homage to 
the poet, who happened to be present at the play, 
just as they would have done to the Emperor himself. 
And in our own day too Pomponius Secundus ranks 
just as high as Domitius Afer, alike in personal 
standing and in enduring reputation. As for your 
Crispus and your Marcellus, whom you hold up to me 
as patterns for imitation, what is there about their 
boasted condition that we ought to covet .'' Is it the 
fear they feel, or the fear they inspire in others } 

D 49 


quod, cum cotidie aliquid rogentur, ii quibus prae- 
stant niliil^ indignantur? quod adligati 07rt?« ^ adula- 
tione nee imperantibus umquam satis servi videntur 
nee nobis satis liberi ? Quae haee summa eorum 
potentia est ? tantura posse liberti solent. Me vero 
dulces, ut Vergilius ait, Musae, remotum a sollici- 
tudinibus et curis et necessitate cotidie aliquid contra 
aiiimiim facieiidi, in ilia sacra illosque fontes ferant ; 
nee insanum ultra et lubricum forum famamque pal- 
lentem " trepidus experiar. Non me fremitus salutant- 
ium nee anhelans libertus excitet, nee incertus futuri 
testamentuni pro pignore scribam, nee plus habeara 
quam quod })0ssim cui velim relinquere ; 

quandoque enim facalis et meus dies 
veniet : ^ 
statuarque tumulo non maestus et atrox, sed hilaris 
et eoronatus, et pro memoria mei nee consulat quis- 
(juani nee roget." 
J t V'ixdum finierat Maternus, concitatus et velut in- 
stinctus, cum Vipstanus Messalla cubiculum eius 
ingressus est, suspicatusque ex ipsa intentione singu- 
lorum altiorem inter eos esse sermonem, "Num j)arum 

1 See note 27, p. 130. 2 ggg n^te 28, p. 187. 

3 See note 2(1, p. 137. 4 See note 31, p. 137. 



Is it tlie fact tliat^ besieged as they are from day to 
day by all sorts of petitions, tliey set the backs up 
of those whom they are unable to oblige ? Or that, 
being constrained to curry favour in every direction, 
they can never show themselves either sufficiently 
servile to the powers that be, or sufficiently inde- 
pendent to us ? And what docs this great power of 
theirs amount to ? Why, the Emperor's freedmen 
often possess as much. As for myself, may the 
' sweet Muses,' as Virgil says, bear me away to their Geon 
holy places where sacred streams do flow, beyond the *^ 
reach of anxiety and care, and free from the obliga- 
tion of performing each day some task that goes against 
the grain. May I no longer have anything to do 
with the mad racket and the hazards of the forum, 
or tremble as I try a fall with white-faced Fame. I 
do not want to be roused from sleep by the clatter of 
morning callers or by some breathless messenger from 
the palace ; I do not care, in drawing my will, to 
give a money-pledge for its safe execution through 
anxiety as to what is to happen afterwards ; ^ I wish 
for no larger estate than I can leave to the heir of 
my own free choice. Some day or other the last hour 
will strike also for me, and my prayer is that my 
effigy may be set up beside my grave, not grim and 
scowling, but all smiles and garlands, and that no one 
shall seek to honour my memory either by a motion 
in the senate or by a petition to the Emperor." 

Scarce had Maternus finished, speaking with anima- 
tion and in a soi't of ecstasy, when Vipstanus Messalla 
entered the room ; and divining from the look of 
fixed attention on each and every face that the subject 
of their conversation was one of special importance, 

1 See note 30, p. 137. 


tempestivus " inquit " interveni secretum consilium 
et causae alicuius meditationem tractantibus ? " 

" Minime^ minime " inquit Secundus, "atque adeo 
vellem maturius intervenisses ; delectasset enim te et 
Apri nostri accuratissimus sermo, cum Maternum ut 
omiie ingenium ac studium suum ad causas agendas 
converteret exhortatus est, et Materni pro carminibus 
suis laeta, utque poetas defendi decebat, audentior et 
poetarum quam oratorum similior oratio." 

^'^ Me vero " inquit " et sermo iste infinita voluptate 
adfecisset, atque id ipsum delectat, quod vos, viri 
optimi et tempoi-um nostrorum ora tores, non forensibus 
tantum negotiis et declamatorio studio ingenia vestra 
exercetis, sed eius modi etiam disputationes adsumitis, 
quae et ingenium alunt et eruditionis ac litterarum 
iucundissimum oblectamentum cum vobis qui ista dis- 
putatis adferunt, tum etiam iis ad quorum aures per- 
venerint. Itaque liercle non minus probari video in 
te, Secunde, quod luli Africani vitam comjionendo 
spem liominibus fecisti ])lurium eius modi librorum, 
quam in Apro, quod nondum ab scholasticis contro- 
versiis recessit et otium suum mavult novorum rhetor- 
um more quam veterum oratorum consumere." 
1 5 Tum Aper : " Non desinis, Messalla, vetera tantum 
et antiqua mirari, nostrorum autem temporum studia 
inridere atque contemnere. Nam hunc tuum ser- 



lie saitl : " Have I come in at the wrong moment, 
disturbing a private consultation, in which you are 
busy with tlie preparation of some case or other?" 

" Not at all," exclaimed Secundus, " not at all : on 
the contrary, I wish j'ou had come in sooner. You 
would have been delighted with our friend Aper's 
carefully elaborated discourse, which was an appeal 
to Maternus to devote all his talent and energy to 
pleading at the bar, and also with Maternus's enthu- 
siastic vindication of his verses in a speech which, 
quite appropriately for one who was championing 
the poets, was somewhat daring and more in the 
style of poetry than of oratory." 

" Why, surely," he I'ejoined, " I should have en- 
joyed the talk immensely ; but what delights me is the 
very fact that distinguished persons like yourselves, 
the foremost speakers of the present day, do not con- 
fine your intellectual exercises to legal issues and the 
pi'actice of declamation, but undertake in addition dis- 
cussions of this sort, which strengthen the intellect 
and furnish at the same time, both to yourselves who 
take part in the debate and also to those to whose 
ears it comes, the most delightful entertainment that 
literary culture affords. As the author of a biography 
of Julius Africanus, you, Secundus, have made the 
public hope for many more volumes of the kind, and 
I find that for this people are just as well pleased 
with you as they are with Aper for not having yet 
withdrawn from the rhetorical exercises of the schools, 
and for choosing to spend all his leisure after the 
fashion of the new rhetoricians rather than of the 
orators of former days." 

"My dear Messalla," Aper rejoined, "you are 
never done admiring what is old and out of date, and 
that alone, while you keep pouring ridicule and scorn 



iiioneni saepe excepi, cum oblitus et tuae et fratris 

tui eloquentiae neminem lioc tempore oratorem esse 

contendeies jnircm ^ antiqiiis^ eo, credo, audacius quod 

raalignitatis opiniouem nonverebariSjCum earn gloriam 

quam tibi alii concedunt ipse tibi denegares." 

" Neque illius " inquit '^ sermonis mei paenitentiam 

ago, neque aut Secundum aut Maternum aut te ipsun), 

Aper, quamquam interdum in contrarium disputes, 

a]iter sentire credo. Ac velim impetratum abaliquo 

vestrum ut causas huius infinitae differentiae scrutetur 

ac reddat, quas mecum ijise plerumque conquiro. Et 

quod quibusdam solacio est niihi auget quaestionem, 

quia video etiam Graiis accidisse ut longius absit ah 

Aeschine et Demosthene Sacerdos iste Nicetes, et si 

quis alius Ephesum vel Mytilenas concentu scholastic- 

orum et clamoribus quatit, quam Afer aut Africanus 

aut vos ipsi a Cicerone aut Asinio recessistis." 

16 " Magnam " inquit Secundus " et dignam tractatu, 

quaestionem movisti. Sed quis earn iustius explicabit 

1 See note 33, \\ 138. 


on the culture of the present day, I have often heard 
you speak as you are speaking now, — maintaining, 
with never a thought of how eloquent you are your- 
self, or how eloquent your brother i is, that we have 
no orator with us to-day who can hold his own with 
those of former times ; and all the more daringly, I 
feel sure, because you did not need to be afraid of 
any imputation of petty jealousy, seeing that you 
were denying to yourself the reputation that others 
say is justly yours." 

"Well," said Messalla, "I make no apologies for 
the sort of talk you say you have heard from me, and 
what is more, I don't really believe that Secundus or 
Maternus has any different opinion, or you either, 
A])er, though at times you argue in support of the 
o]>posite view. I only wish I could induce some one 
of your number to investigate the reasons for the 
prodigious contrast that there is, and to report the 
results of his investigation. I find myself often ask- 
ing what they can be. And what brings comfort to 
some is to me only an aggravation of the difficulty, 
namely, the knowledge that the same thing hap- 
pened also in Greece. Take your friend Sacerdos 
Nicetes, for instance, and all the rest that make 
the walls of Ephesus or Mytilene shake with 
rounds of applause from their approving pupils : the 
interval that separates them from Aeschines and 
Demosthenes is a wider one than that by which Afer 
or Africanus or you yourselves stand removed from 
Cicero or Asinius." 

"It is an important issue," Secundus said, "that 
3'ou have mooted, and one well worth discussion. 
But is there any one who could more properly unfold 
it than yourself, seeing that to pi*ofound scholar- 

1 See note 32, p. 138. 



quaiii tu, ad cuius summam eruditionem et pi'aestant- 
issiiiium inijeniuin cura quoque et meditatio acces- 
sit ? " 

Et Messalla " Aperiam " inquit " cogitationes meas, 
si illud a vobis ante impetravero, ut vos quoque ser- 
moneni hunc nostrum adiuvetis." 

" Pro duobus " inquit Maternus " joromitto ; nam 
et e<^o et Secundus exsequemur eas partes quas in- 
tellexerimus te non tarn omisisse quam nobis reli- 
quisse. Aprum enim solere dissentire et tu paulo 
ante dixisti et ipse satis manifestus est iam dudum in 
contrarium accingi^ nee aequo animo perferre banc 
nostram pro antiquorum laude concordiam." 

" Non enim " inquit Aper "inauditum et indefen- 
suni saeculum nostrum patiar hac vestra conspira- 
tione damnari : sed hoc primum interrogabo, quos 
vocetis antiquos, quam oratorum aetatem significa- 
tione ista determinetis ? Ego enim cum audio antiquos, 
quosdam veteres et olim natos intellego, ac mihi 
versantur ante oculos L'lixes ac Nestor^ quorum 
aetas mille fere et trecentis annis saeculum nostrum 
antecedit ; vos autem Demosthenem et Hyperidem 
profertiSj quos satis constat Philippi et Alexandri 
temporibus floruisse, ita tamen ut utrique superstites 
essent. Ex quo adparet non multo plures quam 
trecentos annos intei'esse inter nostram et Demos- 
thenis aetatem : quod spatium temporis si ad infirmita- 
tem corporimi nostronuii referas, fortasse longum vide- 
atur. si ad naturam saeculorum ac respectum immensi 



ship and eminent ability you have added much 
careful study ? " 

Messalla replied : " If I can first get you to promise 
that you too will lend me a helping hand with my 
discourse, I shall be glad to let you knowwhat I think." 

" I undertake for two of us/' said Maternus ; 
" both Secundus and I will take up the points, what- 
ever they may be, which you do not so much overlook 
as deliberately leave to us. As to Aper, you said a 
little while ago that he has the habit of opposition ; 
and moreover it is quite clear that for some time past 
he has been girding himself for the fray, and that 
our unanimous eulogy of the ancients is more than 
he can tamely endure." 

" Certainly," Aper rejoined : " you are in collu- 
sion, and I Avill not allow judgment to go by default^ 
and without a hearing, against our own times. But to 
begin with, I shall ask this question : who is it that 
you call the ' ancients,' and what period of oratory 
do you designate by your use of the word } For 
myself, when I hear people speaking of the ' ancients,' 
I take it that they are referring to persons remote 
from us, who lived long ago : I have in my mind's 
eye heroes like Ulysses and Nestor, whose epoch 
antedates our own times by about thirteen hundred 
years. You on the other hand bring forward Demos- 
thenes and Hyperides, whose date is well authenti- 
cated. They flourished in the days of Philip and 
Alexander, and indeed survived both these princes. 
This makes it plain that between our era and that of 
Demosthenes there is an interval of not much more 
than three hundred years : a period which may per- 
haps seem long if measured by the standard of our 
feeble frames^ but which, if considered in relation to 
the process of the ages and the endless lapse of time, 



hiiiiis aevi, perquam breve et in proximo est. Nam si, 

lit Cicero in Hortensio scribit, is est magnus et verus 

annus quo eadcm positio caeli siderumque quae cum 

maxime est rursum exsistet, isque annus horum quos 

nos vocamus annorum duodeeim milia nongentos quin- 

quaginta quattuor complectitur, incipit Demosthenes 

vester, qucm vos veterem et antiquum fingitis, non 

solum eodem anno quo nos, sed etiam eodem mense 


17 Sed transeo ad I^atinos oratores, in quibus non 

Menenium, ut puto, Agrippam, qui potest videri 

antiquus, nostrorum temporum disertis anteponere 

soletis, sed Ciceronem et Caesarem et Caelium et 

Calvum et Brutum et Asinium et Messallam : quos 

quid antiquis temporibus potius adscribatis quam 

nostris, non video. Nam ut de Cicerone ipso loquar, 

Hirtio nempe et Pansa consulibus, ut Tiro libertus 

eius scripsit, septimo idus Deccmhrcs occisus est, quo 

anno divus Augustus in locum Pansae et Hirtii se et 

Q. Pedium consules sufFecit. Statue sex et quin- 

quaginta annos, quibus mox divus Augustus rem 

publicam rexit ; adice Tiberii tres et viginti, et 

prope quadriennium Gai, ac bis quaternos denos 

Claudii et Neronis annos, atque ilium Galbae et 

Othonis et Vitelli longum et unum annum, ac 

sextam iam felicis huius principatus stationem quo 

Vespasianus rem publicam fovet : centum et viginti 

anni ab interitu Ciceronis in hunc diem colliguntur. 



is altogether short and but as yesterday. For if, as 
Cicero tells us in his ' Hortcnsius,' the Great Year, the 
True Year, is that in which the constellations in the 
heavens above us come back again to the same posi- 
tion in which they are at any particular moment, and 
if the Great Year includes 12,95i of our so-called 
years, then it follows that your boasted Demosthenes, 
whom you make out to be an ancient, one of the 
olden times, must have lived not only in the same 
year as ourselves, but also in the same month. 

" But I pass on to the orators of Rome. Among 
them it is not Menenius Agrippa, I take it, — who 
may well be considered an ancient, — that you are in 
the habit of rating above good speakers of the 
present day, but Cicero, and Caesar, and Caelius, and 
Calvus, and Brutus, and Asinius, and Messalla ; 
though in regard to these I fail to see any reason 
why you should credit them to antiquity rather than 
to our own era. Just take Cicero : it was, as you 
know, in the consulship of Hirtius and Pansa that he 
was put to death, on the 7th December, as his freed- 
man Tiro has left it on record, in the year in which 
the sainted Augustus appointed himself along with 
Quintus Pedius to take the jjlace of Hirtius and Pansa. 
Count the fifty-six years in which the sainted 
Augustus thereafter held the helm of state ; to these 
add twenty-three years for Tiberius, nearly four for 
Caligula, fourteen each for Claudius and Nero, that 
one long year for Galba, Otho, and Vitellius, and 
now the sixth stage of this auspicious reign in which 
Vespasian is making the country happy : the addition 
gives us only a hundred and twenty years from the 
death of Cicero to the present day, no more than the 



uiiius li(»niinis aetas. Nam ipse ef^o in Britannia vidi 
seneni qui se I'ateretur ci pugnae interfuisse qua 
Caesarem inferentem arma Britanniae arcere litoribus 
et pellere adgressi sunt. Ita si eum, qui armatus C. 
Caesari restitit, vel captivitas vel voluntas vel fatum 
aliquod in urbem pertraxisset, aeque idem et 
Caesarem ipsum et Ciceronem audire potuit et 
nostris quoque actionibus interesse. Proximo quidem 
eongiario ipsi vidistis plerosque senes qui se a divo 
quoque Augusto semel atque iterum accepisse con- 
giarium narrabant. Ex quo colligi potest et Corv- 
inum ab illis et Asinium audiri potuisse, (nam 
Corvinus in medium usque Augusti principatum, 
Asinius paene ad extremum duravit) : ne dividatis 
saeculum, et antiquos ac veteres vocitetis oratores 
quos eorundem hominum aures adgnoscere ac velut 
coniungere et copulare potuerunt. 
18 Haec ideo praedixi ut, si qua ex horum oratorum 
fama gloriaque laus temporibus adquiritur, earn 
docerem in medio sitam et propiorem nobis qiiam 
Servio Galbae aut C. Carboni quosque alios merito 
antiquos vocaverimus ; sunt enim horridi et impoliti, 
et rudes et informes^ et quos utinam nulla parte 
imitatus esset Calvus vester aut Caelius aut ipse 
Cicero. Agere enim fortius iam et audentius volo, 


life of an individual. Why, I saw with my own eyes 
an old man in Britain who could make the state- 
ment that he had taken a hand in the fight in which, 
when Caesar was attempting the invasion of that 
island, his compatriots tried to head him ofi' and repel 
him from their shores. Now if the person who thus 
offered armed resistance to Caesar had come all the 
way to Rome as a slave, or on a visit, or by some 
other chance, it is quite possible that he might have 
listened to Caesar himself on the one hand, and to 
Cicero, and on the other have been present at our own 
judicial pleadings. You yourselves anyhow at the 
last public distribution of largess saw quite a number 
of old men who told us that they had more than 
once received a gratuity from the sainted Augustus 
himself. The obvious inference fi'om this is that 
they might have listened to Corvinus as well as to 
Asinius, for Corvinus lived to the middle of the reign 
of Augustus, Asinius almost to the end of it ; so that 
you must not make two e})ochs out of one, and keep 
on sjieaking of ' remote antiquity ' in reference to 
orators whom the same persons could have heard 
with their own eai's and so have connected closely 
with ourselves. 

" The reason why I have said all this by Avay of 
introduction is that I wanted to show that we have 
a common property in any lustre the name and fame 
of these orators may shed upon the times, and that 
it is nearer to us than to Servius Galba, or Gaius 
Carbo, and all the rest who may properly be called 
'ancients'; for they are really rough and unfinished, 
crude and inartistic, and generally with such qualities 
that one could wish that neither your admired Calvus, 
nor Caelius, nor Cicei'o himself had made them his 
model in anything. I want to take a bolder line 



si illud ante praedixero, mutari cum temporibus 
formas quoque et genera dicendi. Sic Catoni seni 
comparatus C. Gracchus plenior et uberior, sic 
Graccho politior et ornatior Crassus^ sic utroque 
distinctior et urbanior et altior Cicero^ Cicerone 
mitior Corvinus et dulcior et in verbis niagis elabor- 
atus. Nee quaero quis disertissinius : hoc interim 
probasse contentus sum, non esse unum eloquentiae 
vultum, sed in illis quoque quos vocatis antiques 
plures species deprehendi, nee statim deterius esse 
quod diversum est, vitio autem malignitatis humanae 
Vetera semper in laude, praesentia in fastidio esse. 
Num dubitamus inventos qui prae Catone i Appium 
Caecum magis mirarentur ? Satis constat ne Ciceroni 
quidem obtrectatores defuisse, quibus inflatus et 
tumens, nee satis pressus sed supra modum exsultans 
et superfliiens et parum Atticus - videretur. Legistis 
utique et Calvi et Bruti ad Cicei'onem missas epistulas, 
ex quibus facile est deprehendere Calvum quidem 
Ciceroni visum exsanguem et attritimi, Brutum autem 
otiosum atque diiunctum ; rursusque Ciceronem a 
Calvo quidem male audisse taraquam solutum et 
enervem, a Bruto autem, ut ipsius verbis utar, tam- 
quam ' fractum atque elumbem.' Si me interroges, 
omncs mihi videntur verum dixisse : sed mox ad 
singulos veniam, nunc milii cum universis negotium 

1 See note 34, p. 1.S8. 

2 See note 35, p. 13S. 



now, and to speak more resolutely, first premising 
however that the forms and types of oratory change 
with the times. Thus Gains Gracchus, as compared 
with old Cato, has greater fullness and wealth of 
diction, Crassus is more highly finished and more 
ornate than Gracchus, while Cicero is more luminous, 
more refined, more impassioned than either the one 
or the other. Corvinus again is mellower than Cicero, 
more engaging, and more careful in his choice of 
words. I am not asking which is the greatest orator : 
for my present purpose it is enough for me to have 
made the point that eloquence has more than one 
fashion of countenance, and that even in those whom 
you speak of as ' ancients ' a variety of types can be 
discovered. Where change occurs, we are not imme- 
diately to conclude that it is a change for the worse : 
you must blame it on the car])ing spirit of mankind 
that whereas what is old is always held in high esteem, 
anything modern gets the cold shoulder. We do not 
doubt, do we, that there have been those who admired 
Appius Caecus more than Cato ? Cicero himself, as is 
well known, had his detractors : they thought him 
turgid and puff}', wanting in conciseness, inordinately 
I'xuberant and redundant, — in short,not Attic enough. 
You have read, of course, the letters of Calvus and 
Brutus to Cicero, from which it is easy to gather that, 
as for Calvus, Cicero thought him bloodless and 
attenuated, just as he thought Brutus spiritless and 
disjointed ; while Cicero was in his turn criticised 
by Calvus as flabby and pithless, and by Brutus, to use 
his own expression, as 'feeble and emasculate.' If 
you ask me, I think they all spoke the truth ; but I 
shall deal with them individually later on ; at present 
I am considerincj them as a class. 


19 Nam quatenus antiquorum admiratores hunc velut 
terminum antiquitatis constituei'e solent^ qui usque 
ad Cassium * * * * *^ equidcm Cassium ^ quern ream 
faciunt, quein ])vimum adfirniant flexisse abista vetere 
atque directa dicendi via, non infirmitate ingenii nee 
inscitialitterarumtranstulisse se ad aliud dicendi genus 
contendo^ sed iudicio et intellectu. Vidit namque^ ut 
paulo ante dicebam, cum condicione temporum et 
diversitate aurium formam quoque ac speciem ora- 
tionis esse mutandam. Facile perferebat prior ille 
populus, ut imperitus et rudis^ impeditissimarum ora- 
tionum spatia, atque id ipsum laudabat si dicendo 
quis diem eximeret. lam vero longa principiorum 
praeparatio et narrationis alte repetita series et mult- 
arum divisionum ostentatio et mille argumentorum 
gradus, et quidquid aliud aridissimis Hermagorae et 
Apollodori libris praecijiitur, in honore erat ; quod si 
quis odoratus philosophiam videretur atque ^ ex ea 
locum aliquem orationi suae insereret, in caelum 
laudibus ferebatur. Nee mirum ; erant enim haec nova 
et incognita, et ipsorum quoque oratonnn paucissimi 
praecepta rhetorum aut philosophorum placita cogno- 

1 See note 30, p. 138. 

2 See note 37, p. 139. 



"The common practice of the eulogists of antiquity 
is to make this the line of demarcation between the 
ancients and ourselves. Down to the time of Cassius 
. . . Now as to Cassius^ who is the object of their 
attack, and who according to them was the first to 
turn away from the straight old path of eloquence, 
my argument is that it was not from defective ability 
or want of literary culture that he went in for another 
style of rhetoric, but as the result of sound judgment 
and clear discrimination. He saw that with altered 
conditions and a variation in the popular taste, as I 
was saying a little while ago, the form and appear- 
ance of oratory had also to undergo a change. The 
public in those olden days, being untrained and un- 
sophisticated, was quite well pleased with long- 
winded and involved orations, and would even bless 
the man who would fill up the day for them with 
his harangues. Just consider the lengthy exordia, 
designed to work upon the feelings of the audience, 
and the narrative portion, starting from the beginning 
of all things, and the parade of countless heads in 
the arrangement, and the thousand and one stages 
of the proof, and all the other precepts that are laid 
down in the dry-as-dust treatises of Hei'magoras and 
Apollodorus, — all these were held in high esteem; 
and on the other hand, when there was anyone who 
was credited with having some slight smattering of 
philosophy, and who could slip some stock passage 
into his oration, he was praised to the skies. And 
no wonder. All that sort of thing was new and 
unfamiliar, and very few even of the orators them- 
selves had made acquaintance with the rules of the 
rhetoricians or the tenets of the philosophers. But 



veiJint. At hercule |)er\ ulgatis iam omnibus^ cum 
vix in cortina quisquam adsistat quin elementis 
studiorum^ etsi non instructus, at certe imbutus sit, 
novis et exquisitis eloquentiae itineribus opus est, 
per quae orator fastidium aurium effugiat, utique apud 
eos iudices qui vi et potestate, non iure aut legibus 
cognoscunt, nee accipiunt tempera, sed constituunt, 
nee exspectandum habent oratorem duni illi libeat 
de ipso negotio .dicere, sed saepe ultro admonent 
atque alio transgredientem revocant et festinare se 
20 Quis nunc feret oratorem de infirmitate valetudinis 
suae praefantem, qualia sunt fere principia Corvini ? 
Quis quinque in Verrem libros exspectabit .' Quis 
de exceptione et formula perpetietur ilia immensa 
volumina quae pro M. Tullio aut Aulo Caecina 
legimus ? Praecurrit hoc tempore iudex dicentem 
et, nisi aut cursu argumentorum aut colore senten- 
tiarum autnitore et cultu descriptionum invitatus et 
corruptus est, aversatur. ^"ulgus quoque adsistentium 
et adfluens et vagus auditor adsuevit iam exigere 
laetitiam et pulchritudinem orationis ; nee magis 
perfert in iudiciis tristem et impexam antiquitatem 
quam si quis in scaena Roscii aut Turjiionis Ambivii 
exprimere gestus velit. Iam vero iuvenes et in ipsa 
studiorum incude positi, qui profectus sui causa 



now tliat everything has become common property, 
and at a time when there is hardly any casual 
auditor in the well of the court who, if he has not 
had a systematic training in the rudiments of the art, 
cannot show at least a tincture of it, what we need 
is novel and choice methods of eloquence, by employ- 
ing which the speaker may avoid boring his hearers, 
especially when addressing a court which decides 
issues, not according to the letter of the law, but by 
virtue of its own inherent authority, not allowing the 
speaker to take his own time, but telling him how 
long he may have, and not waiting patiently for him 
to come to the point, but often going so far as to give 
him a warning, or call him back from a digression, 
and protest that it has no time to spare. 

" Would anyone to-day put uj) with a speaker who 
begins by referring to his own poor health, — the 
usual sort of introduction with Corvinus? Would any- 
one sit out the five orations against Verres ? Would 
anyone endure the interminable arguments about 
pleas and procedure which we get in the speeches 
delivered in defence of M. Tullius or Aulus C'aecina? 
Nowadays your judge travels faster than counsel, and 
if he cannot find something to engage his interest and 
prejudice him in your favour in a good-going proof, 
or in piquant utterances, or in brilliant and highly 
wrought pen-pictures, he is against you. The general 
audience, too, and the casual listeners who flock in 
and out, have come now to insist on a flowery and 
ornamental style of speaking ; they will no more put 
up with sober, unadorned old-fashionedness in a court 
of law than if you were to try to reproduce on the 
stage the gestures of Roscius or Ambivius Turjno. 
Yes, and our young men, still at the nialleable 
gtage of their education, who hang round our public 



oratores sectantur, non solum audire, sed etiam referre 
domum aliquid inlustre et dignum memoria volunt ; 
traduntque in vicem ac saepe in colonias ac provincias 
suas scribunt^ sive sensus aliquis arguta et brevi sen- 
tentia effulsit, sive locus exquisito et poetico cultu 
eiiituit. Exigitur enim iam ab oratore etiam poeticus 
decor, non Accii aut Pacuvii veterno inquinatus, sed 
ex Horatii et Vergilii et Lucani sacrario prolatus. 
Horum igitur auribus et iudiciis obtemperans nos- 
trorum oratorum aetas pulchrior et ornatior exstitit. 
Neque ideo minus efficaces sunt orationes nostrae quia 
ad aures iudicantium cum volui)tate perveniunt. 
Quid enim si infirmiora horum temporum terapla 
credas, quia non rudi caemento et informibus tegulis 
exstruuntur, sed marmore nitent et auro radiantur ? 
2 1 Equidem fatebor vobis simpliciter me in quibusdam 
antiquorum vix risum, in quibusdam autem vix som- 
num tenere. Nee unum de populo/ Canutium aut 
Attium, memorabo, nc quidloqiiar de Furnio et Toranio 
quique alii omncs in eodem valetudinario haec ossa et 
banc maciem probant : ipse mihi Calvus^ cum unum 
et viginti, ut puto, libi-os reliquerit, vix in una et altera 
oratiuncula satis facit. Nee dissentire ceteros ab hoc 
meo iudicio video ; quotus enim quisque Calvi in 

1 See note 38, p. 139. 


speakers in order to improve themselves, are eager 
not only to hear but also to take home with them 
some striking and memorable utterance ; they pass 
it on from mouth to mouth, and often quote it in 
their home correspondence with country-towns and 
provuiceSj whether it be the flash of an epigram 
embodying some conceit in pointed and terse 
phraseology, or the glamour of some passage of 
choice poetical beauty. For the adornment of the 
poet is demanded nowadays also in the orator, an 
adornment not disfigured by the mouldiness of 
Accius or Pacuvius, but fresh from the sacred shrine 
of a Horace, a Virgil, a Lucan. It is by accommoda- 
ting itself to the taste and judgment of hearers such 
as these that the orators of the jjresent day have 
gained in grace and attractiveness. And the fact 
that they please the ear does not make our speeches 
any the less telling in a court of law. Why, one 
might as well believe that temples are not so strongly 
built to-day because they are not put together out of 
coarse uncut stone and ugly-looking bricks, but 
glitter in marble and are all agleam with gold. 

" I make the frank avowal that with some of the 
'ancients' I can scarcely keep from laughing, while 
with others I can scarcely keep awake. And I am 
not going to name anyone belonging to the rank and 
file, a Canutius or an Attius, not to mention Furnius 
and Toranius, and all the others who, being inmates 
of the same infirmary, have nothing but approval for 
the familiar skin and bones : Calvus himself, in spite 
of the fact that he left behind him as many, if I am 
right, as one-and-twenty volumes, hardly comes up 
to standard in any one of his addresses, or two 
at the most. And I do not find that the world at 


Asitium aut in Drusum legit ? At hercule in omnium 
studiosoriun nianihus versantur accusationes quae in 
Valiniiim insciibuntiir. ac praecipue secunda ex his 
oratio ; est enini verbis ornata et sententiis, auribus 
iudicuni adcommodata, ut scias ipsum quoqiie Calvum 
intellexisse quid naelius esset, nee voluntatem ei quo 
minus sublimius et cultius diceret, sed ingenium 
ac vires defuisse. Quid ? ex Caelianis orationibus 
nempe eae placenta sive universae sive j^artes earum, 
in quibus nitorem et altiludinem horuni temporuni 
adgnoscimus. Sordes autem reliqiiac verborinn^ et 
liians compositio et inconditi sensus redolent anti- 
quitatem ; nee quemquam adeo antiquarium puto ut 
Caelium ex ea parte laudet qua antiquus est. Con- 
cedanius sane C. Caesari ut propter magnitudinem 
cogitationum et occupationes rerum minus in elo- 
quentia effecerit quam divinum eius ingenium postu- 
labat^ tarn hercule quam Brutum philosophiae suae 
rehnquamuS;, — nam in orationibus minorem esse fama 
sua etiam admiratores eius fatentur : nisi forte quis- 
quam aut Caesaris i)ro Decio Samnite aut Bruti pro 
Deiotaro rege ceterosque eiusdem lentitudinis ac 
teporis libros legit, nisi qui et carmina eorundem 
miratur. Fecerunt enim et carmina et in biblio- 
thecas rettulerunt, non melius quam Cicero, sed 
felicius, quia illos fecisse pauciores sciunt. Asinius 
1 See note 39, p. 139. 



large dissents from this criticism. How very few there 
are who read his impeachment of Asitius or Drusus ! 
On the other handj the orations entitled ' Against 
Vatinius ' are a common text-book with students, 
especially the second : for it is rich in style as well as 
in ideasj and well suited to the taste of a law court, 
so that one may readily see that Calvus himself knew 
the better part, and tliat his comparative lack of ele- 
vation and elegance was due not so much to want of 
taste as to want of intellectual force. Take, again, the 
speeches of Caelius : surely those give satisfaction, 
either in whole or in part, in which we find the polish 
and elevation of style that are characteristic of the 
present day. For the rest, his commonplace phrase- 
ology, his slipshod arrangement, and his ill-constructed 
periods savour of old-fashionedness, and I do not 
believe that there is anyone so devoted to antiquity 
as to praise Caelius just because he is old-fashioned. 
As to Julius Caesar we must no doubt make 
allowance. It was owing to his vast designs and 
all-absorbing activities that he accomplished less 
as an oi'ator than his superhuman genius called for ; 
just as in the case of Brutus we must leave him 
to his well-loved philosophy, for even his admirers 
admit that as an orator he did not rise to his reputa- 
tion. You won't tell me that anybody reads Caesar's 
oration in defence of Decius the Samnite, or Brutus's 
in defence of King Deiotarus, or any of the other 
speeches, all equally slow and equally flat, — unless, 
indeed, it be some one who is an admirer also of their 
poetry. For they not only wrote poetry, but what is 
more they sent copies to the libraries. Their verse 
is no better than Cicero's, but they have had more 
luck : it is not so notorious. Asinius too, though he 


quoque, quamquam propioribus temporibus natus sit^ 
videtur mihi inter Menenios et Appios studuisse. 
Pacuvium certe et Accium non solum tragoediis sed 
etiam orationibus suis expressit: adeo durus et siccus 
est. Oratio autem, sicut corpus hominis, ea demum 
pulchi-a est in qua non eminent venae nee ossanume- 
rantur, sed temperatus ac bonus sanguis implet mem- 
bra et exsurgit toris ipsosque nervos rubor tegit et de- 
cor commendat. Nolo Corvinum insequi^ quia nee per 
ipsum stetit quo minus laetitiam nitoremque nos- 
trorum temporum exprimeret ; videmus enim quam ^ 
iudicio eius vis aut animi aut ingenii suffecevit. 
22 Ad Ciceronem venio, cui eadem pugna cum aeqiia- 
libus suis fuit quae mihi vobiscum est. Illi enim 
antiquos mirabantui-, ipse suorum temporum elo- 
quentiam anteponebat : nee ulla re magis eiusdem 
aetatis oratores ^ praecurrit quam iudicio. Primus 
enim excoluit orationem, primus et verbis delectum 
adhibuit et compositioni artem ; locos quoquelaetiores 
attentavit etquasdam sententias invenit, utique in iis 
orationibus quas senior iam ^ et iuxta finem vitae com- 
posuit, id est^ postquam magis profecerat usuque et ex- 
perimentis didicerat quod optimum dicendi genus 
esset. Nam priores eius orationes non carent vitiis anti- 

1 See note 40, p. 139. 2 geg ^otg 41^ p 139 



is nearer to our own time, must have pursued his 
studies, as it seems to me, in the company of people 
like Meiieniusand Agrippa: at all events he modelled 
himself upon Pacuvius and Accius in his speeches as 
well as in his tragedies : so stiff is he, and so dry. No, 
it is with eloquence as with the human frame. There 
can be no beauty of form where the veins are 
prominent, or where one can count the bones : sound 
healthful blood must fill out the limbs, and riot over 
the muscles, concealing the sinews in turn under a 
ruddy complexion and a graceful exterior. I don't 
want to make an attack on Corvinus, as it was not 
his fault that he did not exhibit the luxuriance 
and the polish of the present day : indeed we know 
how poorly supported his critical faculty was by 
imagination or intellectual power. 

" 1 come now to Cicero, who had the same battle to 
fight with his contemporaries that I have with you. 
While they admired the ancients, he gave the 
preference to the eloquence of his own day ; 
and it is in taste more than anything else that he 
outdistances the orators of his period. Cicero 
was the first to give its proper finish to oratorical 
style. He was the first to adopt a method of selec- 
tion in the use of words, and to cultivate artistic 
arrangement ; further, he tried his hand at flowery 
passages, and was the author of some pointed saj'ings, 
at any rate in the speeches which he wrote when 
well on in years and towards the close of his career, 
that is to say, when his powers were well developed, 
and he had learned by experience and practice the 
qualities of the best type of oratory. As to his 
earlier speeches, they are not free from the old- 
fashioned blemishes. He is tedious in his introduc- 


quitatis : lentus est in principiis, longus in narrationi- 
bus. otiosiis circa excessus ; tarde commovetur, raro 
incalescit ; pauci sensus apte et cum quodam lumine 
terminantur. Niliil excei'pere, nihil referre possis^ et 
velutin rudi aedificio, firmus sane paries et duraturus, 
sed non satis expolitus et splendens. Ego auteni 
oratorem, siciit locupleteni ac lautum patrem familiae, 
non eo tantum volo tecto tegi quod imbrem ac vent- 
um arceat, sed etiam quod visum et oculos delectet ; 
non ea solum instrui supellectile quae necessariis 
usibus sufficiat, sed sit in apparatu eius et aurum et 
gemmae^ ut sumere in manus, ut aspicere saepius 
libeat. Quaedam vero procul arceantur ut iam oblit- 
terata et olentia : nullum sit verbum velut rubigine 
iiifectum^ nulli sensus tarda et inerti structura in 
morem annalium componantur ; fugitet foedam et 
insulsam scurrilitatem, variet compositionem, nee 
omnes clausulas uno et eodem modo determinet. 
3 Nolo inridere ' rotam Fortunae ' et ' ius verrinum ' et 
illud tertio quoque sensu in omnibus orationibus pro 
sententia positum '^esse videatur.' Nam et haec invitus 
rettuli et plura omisi, quae tamen sola mirantur atque 



tionSj long-winded in the narrative parts^ and weari- 
some in his digressions. He is slow to rouse himself, 
and seldom warms to his work ; only here and there 
do you find a sentence that has a rhythmical cadence 
and a flash-point at the finish. There is nothing you 
can extract^ nothing you can take away with you : 
it is just as in rough-and-ready construction work, 
where the walls are strong, in all conscience, and 
lasting, but lacking in polish and lustre. My own 
view is that the orator, like a prosperous and well- 
found householder, ought to live in a house that 
is not only wind and weather proof, but pleasing 
also to the eye ; he should not only have such fur- 
nishings as shall suffice for his essential needs, but 
also number among his belongings both gold and 
precious stones, so as to make people want to take 
him up again and again, and gaze with admiration. 
Some things there are again that must be carefully 
avoided, as antiquated and musty. There should be 
never a word of the rusty, mouldy tinge, never a 
sentence put together in the lame and listless style 
of the chroniclei's. The orator ought to avoid dis- 
creditable and senseless buffoonery, vary his arrange- 
ment, and refrain from giving the self-same cadence 
to all his period-endings. 

" I don't want to make fun of Cicero's ' Wheel of 
Fortune,' and his ' Boar's Sauce,' ^ and the tag esse 
videatur, which he tacks on as a pointless finish for 
every second sentence thi-oughout his speeches. It 
has gone against the grain to say what I have said, 
and there is more that I have left out : though it is 
precisely these blemishes, and these alone, that are 

1 ius verrinuni may be either "Boar's sauce" or " Verrine 
law." The joke occurs in the speeches against Verres, i. 1, 


exprimunt ii qui se antiques oratores vocant. Nemi- 
neni nominabo^ genus hominum significasse contentus; 
sed vobis utique versantur ante oculos illi qui 
Lucilium pro Horatio et Lucretium pro Vergilio 
legunt, quibus eloquentia Aufidii Bassi aut Servilii 
Noniani ex comparatione Sisennae aut Varronis 
sordet, qui rhetoruni nostrorum commentarios 
fastidiunt oderunt, Calvi mirantur. Quos more 
prisco apud iudicem fabulantes non auditores se- 
quuntur^ non populus audit, vix denique litigator 
perpetitur : adeo niaesti et inculti illani ipsani quam 
iactant sanitatem non firmitate, sed ieiunio conse- 
quuntur. Porro ne in corpore quideni valetudinem 
medici probant quae nimia anxietate contingit; 
parum est aegruni non esse, fortem et laetum et 
alacrem volo. Prope abest ab infirmitate in quo sola 
sanitas laudatur, 

Vos vero, viri disertissimi, ut potestis, ut facitis, 
inlustrate saeculum nostrum pulcherrimo genere 
dicendi. Nam et te, Messalla, video laetissima quae- 
que antiquorum imitantem, et vos, Materne ac Se- 
cunde, ita gravitati sensuum nitorem et cultum verb- 
orum miseetis, ea electio inventionis, is ordo rerum, 


admired and imitated by those who call themselv'es 
orators of the good old school. I mention no names, 
as it is enough for me to indicate a type ; but you of 
course will have in your mind's eye thearchaists who 
prefer Lucilius to Horace, and Lucretius to Virgil, 
who consider the style of Aufidius Bassus and Servilius 
Nonianus very inferior as compared with that of 
Sisenna or Varro, who, while they admire the di-aft- 
speeches which Calvus left behind him, have nothing 
but feelings of disdain and repugnance for those of 
our own contemporaries. Such persons as these, 
when they prose along before a judge in the 
antique style, cannot hold the attention of their 
audience ; the crowd refuses to listen, and even their 
clients can scarcely })ut up with them. So dreary are 
they and so uncouth : and even the sound condition 
which they make their boast they owe not to any 
stui'diness, but to banting. Why, in dealing with 
the human body, doctors have not much to say in 
praise of the patient who only keeps well by worrying 
about his health. It is not enough not to be ill ; I 
like a man to be strong and hearty and vigorous. If 
soundness is all you can commend in him, he is really 
next door to an invalid. 

"Do you, my eloquent friends, continue — as you 
are so well able to do — to shed lustre on this age of 
ours by your noble oratory. You, Messalla, on the 
one hand, model your style, as I know, on all that is 
richest in the eloquence of former days ; while as 
for you, Maternus and Secundus, you have such a 
happy combination of deep thinking witli beauty and 
elegance of expression, you show such taste in the 
selection and arrangement of your subject-matter, 
such copiousness where necessary, such brevity 
where possible, such grace of construction, such 



ea quotiens causa poscit ubertas, ea quotiens permittit 
bievitas, is conipositionis decor, ea sententiarum 
planitas est, sic exprimitis adfectus, sic libertatem 
temperatis, ut etiam si nostra iudicia malignitas et in- 
vidia tardaverit, verum de vobis dicturi sint posteri 

24 Quae cum Aper dixisset, " Adgnoscitisne " inquit 
Maternus " vim et ardorem Apri nostri ? Quo tor- 
rente, quo impetu saeculum nostrum defendit ! 
Quam copiose ac varie vexavit antiquos ! Quanto 
non solum ingenio ac spiritu, sed etiam eruditione et 
arte ab ipsis mutuatus est per quae mox ipsos inces- 
seret ! Tuum tamen, Messalla, promissum immutasse 
non debet ; neque enim defensorem antiquorum exigi- 
mus, nee quemquam nostrum, quamquam modo laudati 
sumus, iis quos insectatus est Aper comparamus. Ac 
ne ipse quidem ita sentit, sed more vetere et a nostris 
philosophis saepe celebrato sumpsit sibi contra dicendi 
partes. Igitur exprome nobis non laudationem anti- 
quorum (satis enim illos fama sua laudat), sed causas 
cur in tantum ab eloquentia eorum recesserimus, cum 
praesertim centum et viginti annos ab interitu Cicero- 
nis in hunc diem effici ratio temporum collegerit." 

25 Tum Messalla: "Sequar praescriptam a te, Materne, 
formam ; neque enim diu contra dicendum est Apro, 
qui })rimum, ut opinor, noniinis controversiam movit, 
tamquam parum proprie antiqui vocarentur quos satis 


perspicuity of thought^ so well do you give expression 
to deep emotion, so restrained are you in your out- 
spokenness, that even if spite and ill-will interfere 
with a favourable verdict from us who are your con- 
temporaries, posterity assuredly will do you justice." 

"There is no mistaking, is there," said Maternus, 
when Aper had finished speaking, "our friend's 
passionate impetuosity ? With what a flow of Avords, 
with what a rush of eloquence, did he champion the 
age in which we live ! With what readiness and 
versatility did he make war upon the ancients ! What 
natural ability and inspiration, and more than that, 
what learning and skill did he display, borrowing from 
their own armoury the very weajions which he was 
afterwards to turn against themselves ! All the same, 
Messalla, he must not be allowed to make you break 
your promise. It is not a defence of antiquity that 
we need, and in s])ite of the compliments Aper has 
just been paying us, there is no one among us whom 
we Avould set alongside of those who have been the 
object of his attack. He does not think there is, any 
more than we do. No ; adopting an old method and 
one much in vogue with the philosophers of the 
present day, what he did was to take on himself the 
role of an opponent. Well then, do you set before 
us, not a eulogy of the ancients (their renown is their 
best eulogy), but the reasons why we have fallen so 
far short of their eloquence, and that though chrono- 
logy has proved to demonstration that from the death 
of Cicero to the present time is an interval of only 
one hundred and twenty years." 

Thereupon Messalla spoke as follows : " I shall 
keep to the lines you have laid down, Maternus ; 
Aper's argument does not need any lengthy refuta- 
tion. He began by raising an objection which hinges, 


constat ante centum annos fuisse. Mihi autem de 
vocabulo pugna non est ; sive illos antiques sive 
maiores sive quo alio mavult nomine appellet^ dum 
modo in confesso sit eminentiorem illorum temporum 
eloquentiam fuisse. Ne illi quidem parti sermonis eius 
rejiugno, t si cominus fatetur ^ plures formas dicendi 
etiam isdem saeculis, nedum diversis exstitisse. Sed 
quo modo inter Atticos oratores primae Demostheni 
tribuuntur, proximum autem locum Aeschines et 
Hyperides et I.ysias et Lycurgus obtinent, omnium 
tamen- concessu haec oratoruni aetas maxime probatur, 
sic apud nos Cicero quidem ceteros eorundem tem- 
porum disertos antecessit^ Calvus autem et Asinius 
et Caesar et Caelius et Brutus iure et prioribus et 
sequentibus anteponuntur. Nee refert quod inter se 
specie differunt, cum genere consentiant. Adstrictior 
Calvus,numerosior AsiniuS;, splendiclior Caesar, amarior 
Caelius, gravior Brutus, vehementior et plenior et 
valentior Cicero : omnes tamen eandem sanitatem 
eloquentiae prae se ferunt, ut si omnium pariter libros 
in manum sumpseris scias, quamvis in diversis ingen- 
iis, esse quandam iudicii ac voluntatis similitudinem 
et cognationem. Nam quod invicem se obtrectaverunt, 
et sunt aliqua epistulis eorum inserta ex quibus mutua 
malignitas detegitur, non est oratorum vitium, sed 
hominum. Nam et Calvum et Asinium et ijisum 

1 See uote 42, p. 139. 2 gee note 43, p. 140. 



as it seems to me, on a mere name. Aper thinks it 
ncorreet to apply the term 'ancients' to persons 
who are known to have lived only one hundred 
years ago. Now I am not going to fight about a 
word ; he may call them ' ancients ' or ' ancestors,' 
or anything else he likes, so long as it is admitted 
that the eloquence of those days stood higher than 
ours. No more have I any objection to that part of his 
argument in which he comes to the point, and acknow- 
ledges that not only at different but at the same 
epochs more types of eloquence than one have made 
their appearance. But just as in Attic oratory the 
palm is awarded to Demosthenes, while next in order 
come Aeschines, Hyperides, Lysias, and Lycurgus, 
and yet this era of eloquence is by universal consent 
considered as a whole the best ; so at Rome it was 
Cicero who outdistanced the other speakers of his 
own dav, while Calvus and Asinius and Caesar and 
Caeliusand Brutus are rightly classed both above their 
predecessors and above those who came after them. 
In the face of this generic agreement it is unimportant 
that there are special points of difference. Calvus is 
more concise, Asinius more rhythmical, Caesar more 
stately, Caelius more ])ungent, Brutus more dignified, 
Cicero more impassioned, fuller,and more forceful; yet 
they all exhibit the same healthfulness of style, to such 
an extent that if you take up all their speeches at the 
same time you will find that, in spite of diversity of 
talent, there is a certain family likeness in taste and 
aspiration. As to their mutual I'ecriminations, — and 
there do occur in their correspondence some passages 
that reveal the bad blood there was between them, — 
that is to be charged against them not as orators, but 
as human beings. With Calvus and Asinius — yes, and 

F 81 


Ciceronem credo solitos et invidere et livere et 
ceteris humanae infirmitatis vitiis adfici : solum inter 
hos arbitror Brutum non malignitate nee invidia, sed 
simpliciter et ingenue iudicium animi sui detexisse. 
An ille Ciceroni invideret^ qui mihi videtur ne Caesari 
quidem invidisse ? Quod ad Servium Galbam et 
C. Laelium attinet^ et si quos alios antiquiorum agit- 
are Aper ^ non destitit^ non exigit defensoreni, cum 
fatear quaedam eloquentiae eorum ut nascenti adhuc 
nee satis adultae defuisse. 
26 Ceterum si omisso optimo illo et perfectissimo gen- 
ere eloquentiae eligenda sit forma dicendi, malim 
hercle C. Gracchi impetum aut L. Crassi maturitatem 
quam calaniistros Maecenatis aut tinnitus Gallionis : 
adeo melius est orationem vel liirta toga induere 
quam fucatis et meretriciis vestibus insignire. Neque 
enim oratorius iste, immo hercle ne virilis quidem 
cultus estj quo plerique temporum nostrorum actores 
ita utuntur ut lascivia verborum et levitate senten- 
tiarum et licentia compositionis histrionales modos 
exprimant. Quodque vix auditu fas esse debeat^ 
laudis et gloriae et ingenii loco plerique iactant cantari 
saltarique commentarios suos ; unde oritur ilia foeda 

1 See note 44, p. 140. 


with Cicero himself — it was quite usual, I take it, to 
harbour feelings of jealousy and spite ; they were 
liable to all the failings that mark our poor human 
nature. To my thinking Brutus is the only one of 
them who showed no rancour and no ill-will : in 
straightforward and ingenuous fashion he spoke out 
what was in his mind. Was it likely that Brutus 
would have any ill-will for Cicero .'' Why, he does 
not seem to me to have felt any for Julius Caesar 
himself. As to Servius Galba and Gaius LaeUus, and 
any of the other ' ancients,' speaking compai-atively, 
whom Aper so persistently disparaged, their case 
does not call for any defence ; I am free to admit 
that their style of eloquence had the defects that 
are incidental to infancy and immaturity. 

" If, however, one had to choose a style without 
taking absolutely ideal standards of eloquence into 
account, I should certainly prefer the fiery spirit of 
Gaius Gracchus or the mellowness of Lucius Crassus 
to the coxcombry of a Maecenas or the jingle-jangle 
of a Gallio ; for it is undoubtedly better to clothe what 
you have to say even in rough homespun than to 
parade it in the gay-coloured garb of a courtesan. 
There is a fashion much in vogue with quite a 
number of counsel nowadays that ill befits an 
orator, and is indeed scarce worthy even of a man. 
They make it their aim, by wantonness of language, 
by shallow-pated conceits, and by irregular arrange- 
ment, to produce the rhythms of stage-dancing ; and 
whereas they ought to be ashamed even to have 
such a thing said by others, many of them actually 
boast that their speeches can be sung and danced 
to, as though that were something creditable, 
distinguished, and clever. This is the origin of 



et praepostera, sed tamen frequens exclamatio^, ut 
oratores nostri tenere dicerCj liistriones diserte saltare 
dicantur. Equidem non negaverim Cassium Severum, 
quern solum A])er noster norainare ausus est, si lis 
comparetur qui postea fuerunt, posse oratorem vocari, 
quamquani in magna parte librorum suorum plus bilis 
habeat quam sanguinis ; primus enim contempto 
ordine rerum, omissa modestia ac pudore verborum, 
ipsis etiam quibus utitur armis incompositus et studio 
feriendi plerumque deiectus, non pugnat, sed rixatur. 
Ceterum, ut dixi, sequentibus comparatus et varietate 
eruditionis et lepore urbanitatis et ipsarum virium rob- 
ore multum ceteros superat, quorum neminem Aper 
nominare et velut in aciem educere sustinuit. Ego 
autem exspectabam ut incusato Asinio et Caelio et 
Calvo aliud nobis agmen produeeret, pluresque vel 
certe totidem nominaret, ex quibus alium Ciceroni, 
alium Caesari, singulis deinde singulos opponeremus. 
Nunc detrectasse nominatim antiquos oratores con- 
tentus neminem sequentium laudare ausus est nisi in 
publicum et in commune — veritus, credo, ne multos 
offenderet si paucos excerpsisset. Quotus enim 
quisque scholasticorum non hac sua persuasione 

1 See note 46, p. 140. 


the epigram, so shameful and so wrong-headed, 
but yet so common, which says that at Rome 
' orators speak vohiptuously and actors dance elo- 
quently.' With reference to Cassius Severus, who 
is the only one our friend Aper ventured to name, I 
should not care to deny that, if he is compared with 
those who came after him, he may be called a real 
orator, though a considerable portion of his composi- 
tions contains more of the choleric element than of 
good red blood. Cassius was the first to treat lightly 
the arrangement of his material, and to disregard 
propriety and restraint of utterance. He is unskil- 
ful in the use of the weapons of his choice, and so 
keen is he to hit that he quite frequently loses his 
balance. So, instead of being a warrior, he is 
simply a brawler. As already stated, however, com- 
pared with those who came after him, he is far ahead 
of them in all-round learning, in the charm of his 
wit, and in sheer strength and pith. Aper could 
not prevail on himselfto name any of those successors 
of Cassius, and to bring them into the firing-line. 
My expectation, on the other hand, was that after 
censuring Asinius and Caelius and Calvus, he would 
bring along another squad, and would name a greater 
or at least an equal number from whom we miglit 
pit one against Cicero, another against Caesar, and 
so, champion against champion, throughout the list. 
Instead of this he has restricted himself to a criticism 
of certain stated orators among the ' ancients,' without 
venturing to connnend any of their successors, except 
in the most general terms. He was afraid, I fancy, 
of giving offence to many by specifying only a few. 
Why, almost all our professional rhetoricians plume 
themselves on their pet conviction that each of them 


fruitur, ut se ante Ciceronem numeret, sed plane 
post Gabinianum ? 

At ego non verebor ^ nominare singulos, quo facilius 
propositis exemplis adpareat quibus gradibus fracta 
sit et deminuta eloquentia." 

27 " Adpara te " ^ inquit Maternus " et potius exsolve 
promissum. Neque eiiim hoc colligi desideramus, 
disertiores esse antiquos, quod apud me quidem in 
eonfesso est^ sed causas exquirimus quas te solituni 
tractare paulo ante dixisti jilane niitior et eloquentiae 
temjiorum nostrorum minus iratus, antequam te Aper 
ofFenderet maiores tuos lacessendo." 

" Non sum " inquit " ofFensus Apri viei disputa- 
tione, nee vos ofFendi decebit, si quid forte aures 
vestras perstringat, cum sciatis hanc esse eius modi 
sermonum legem, iudicium animi citra damnum 
adfectus proferre." 

" Perge " inquit Maternus "et cum de antiquis 
loquaris, utere antiqua libertate, a qua vel magis 
degeneravimus quam ab elocjuentia." 

28 Et Messalla, " Non reconditas, Materne, causas re- 
quiris, nee aut tibi ipsi aut huic Secundo vel huic 
Apro ignotas, etiam si mihi partes adsignatis pro- 
ferendi in medium quae omnes sentimus. Quis 

1 See note 46, p. 140. 

2 See note 47, p. 140. 



is to be ranked as superior to Cicero, though dis- 
tinctly inferior to Gabinianus. 

" I shall not hesitate, on the other hand, to name 
individuals in order to show, by the citation of 
instances, the successive stages in the decline and 
fall of eloquence. " 

Thereupon Maternus exclaimed : " Get ready, and 
rather make good your promise. We do not want 
you to lead up to the conclusion that the ancients 
excelled us in eloquence. I regard that as an estab- 
lished fact. What we are asking for is the reasons 
of the decline. You said a little while ago that this 
forms a frequent subject of consideration with you : 
that was when you were in a distinctly milder frame 
of mind, and not so greatly incensed against con- 
temporary eloquence, — in fact, before Aper gave you 
a shock by his attack on your ancestors." 

" My good friend Aper's discourse did not shock 
me," Messalla replied, " and no more must you be 
shocked by anything that may chance to grate upon 
j'our ears. You know that it is the rule in talks 
of this kind to speak out one's inmost convictions 
without prejudice to friendly feeling." 

" Go on," said Maternus, " and in dealing with the 
inen of olden times see that you avail yourself of 
all the old-fiishioned outspokenness which we have 
fallen away from even more than we have from 

"My dear Maternus," Messalla continued, "the 
reasons you ask for are not far to seek. You know 
them yourself, and our good friends Secundus and 
Aper know them too, though you want me to take 
the role of the person who holds forth on views that 
are common to all of us. Everybody is aware that it 



enim ignorat et eloquentiam et ceteras artes desciv- 
isse ab ilia vetere gloria non inopia hominum, sed 
desidia iuventutis et neglegentia pareiitum et in- 
scientia praecipientium et oblivione nioris antiqui ? 
quae mala })rimum in urbe nata^ mox per Italiam 
fusa^ iam in provincias manant. Quamquam vestra 
vobis notiora sunt : ego de urbe et his propriis ac 
vernaculis vitiis loquar^ quae natos statim excipiunt 
et per singulos aetatis gradus cumulantur, si prius de 
severitate ac disci])lina maiorum circa educandos 
formandosque liberos pauca praedixero. 

Nam pridem suus cuique filius^ ex casta parente 
natus^ non in cellula emptae nutricis, sed gremio ac 
sinu matris educabatur, cuius praecipua laus erat 
tueri domum et inservire liberis. Eligebatur autem 
maior aliqua natu propinqua, cuius probatis spect- 
atisque moribus omnis eiusdem familiae suboles 
committeretur ; coram qua neque dicere fas erat 
quod turpe dictu, neque facere quod inhonestum 
factu videretur. Ac non studia modo curasque, sed 
remissiones etiam lususque puerorum sanctitate 
quadam ac verecundia temperabat. Sic Corneliam 
Gracchorum^ sic Aureliam Caesaris, sic Atiam Augusti 
praefuisse educationibus ac produxisse principes 
liberos accepimus. Quae disciplina ac severitas eo 
pertinebat ut sincera et integra et nullis pravitatibus 



is not for lack of votaries that eloquence and the 
other arts as well have fallen from their former high 
estate, but because of the laziness of our young men, 
the carelessness of parents, the ignorance of teachers, 
and the decay of the old-fashioned virtue. It was at 
Rome that this backsliding first began, but after- 
wards it permeated Italy and now it is making its 
way abroad. You know provincial conditions, how- 
ever, better than I do ; I am going to speak of the 
capital and of our home-grown Roman vices, which 
catch on to us as soon as we are born, and increase with 
each successive stage of our development. But first 
I must say a word or two about the rigorous system 
which our forefathers followed in the matter of the 
upbringing and training of their children. 

" In the good old days, every man's son, born in 
wedlock, was brought up not in the chamber of some 
hireling nurse, but in his mother's lap, and at her 
knee. And that mother could have no higher praise 
than that she managed the house and gave herself to 
her children. Again, some elderly relative would be 
selected in order that to her, as a person who had been 
tried and never found wanting, might he entrusted 
the care of all the youthful scions of the same 
house ; in the presence of such an one no base word 
could be uttered without grave offence, and no wrong 
deed done. Religiously and with the utmost delicacy 
she regulated not only the serious tasks of her youthful 
charges, but their recreations also and their games. 
It was in this spirit, we are told, that Cornelia, the 
mother of the Gracchi, directed their upbringing, 
Aurelia that of Caesar, Atia of Augustus : thus it was 
that these mothers trained their princely children. 
The object of this rigorous system was that the 
natural disposition of every child, while still sound at 



detorta unius cuiusque natura toto statini pectore 
arriperet artes honestas, et sive ad rem militarem sive 
ad iuris scientiam sive ad eloquentiae studium in- 
clinasset^ id solum ageret, id universum haiiriret. 
29 At nunc natus infans delegatur Graeculae alicui 
ancillae, cui adiungitur unus aut altei' ex omnibus 
servis, plerumque vilissimus nee cuiquam serio minis- 
terio adcommodatus. Horum fabulis et ei'roribus 
teneri statim et rudes animi imbuuntui* ; nee quis- 
quam in tota domo pensi habet quid coram infante 
domino aut dicat aut faciat. Quin etiam ipsi parentes 
nee probitati neque modestiae parvulos adsuefaciunt, 
sed lasciviae et dicacita ti, per quae paulatimimpudentia 
inrepit et sui alienique contemptus. lam vero propria 
et peculiaria huius urbis vitia paene in utero matris 
concipi mihi videntur, histrionalis favor et gladia- 
torum equorumque studia : quibus occupatus et ob- 
sessus animus quantiilum loci bonis artibus relinquit? 
Quotum quemque invenies qui domi quicquam aliud 
loquatur ? Quos alios adulescentulorum sermones 
excipimus, si quando auditoria intravimus ? Ne prae- 
ceptores quidem ullas crebriores cum audit oribus suis 


the core and untainted, not warped as yet by any 
vicious tendencies, might at once hiy hold with heart 
and soul on virtuous accomplishments, and whether 
its bent was towards the army, or the law, or the 
pursuit of eloquence, might make that its sole aim 
and its all-absoi-bing interest. 

" Nowadays, on the other hand, our children are 
handed over at their birth to some silly little Greek 
serving-maid, with a male slave, who may be any one, 
to help her, — quite frequently the most worthless 
member of the whole establishment, incompetent for 
any serious service. It is from the foolish tittle-tattle 
of such persons that the children receive their earliest 
impressions, while their minds are still pliant and 
unformed ; and there is not a soul in the whole house 
who cares a jot what he says or does in the presence 
of its lisping little lord. Yes, and the parents them- 
selves make no effort to train their little ones in 
goodness and self-control ; they grow up in an atmo- 
sphere of laxity and pertness, in which they come 
gradually to lose all sense of shame, and all respect 
both for themselves and for other people. Again, 
there are the peculiar and charactei'istic vices of 
this metropolis of ours, taken on, as it seems to nie, 
almost in the mother's womb, — the passion for play 
actors, and the mania for gladiatorial shows and horse- 
racing ; and when the mind is engrossed in such 
occupations, what room is left over for higher pursuits .'' 
How few are to be found whose home-talk runs 
to any other subjects than these ? What else do we 
overhear our younger men talking about whenever 
we enter their lecture-halls .^ And the teachers 
are just as bad. With them, too, such topics supply 
material for gossip with their classes more frequently 
than any others ; for it is not by the strict administra- 



fabulas habent ; colligunt enim discipulos non severi- 
tate disciplinae nee iiigenii experimento, sed ambit- 
ione salutationum et inlecebris adulationis. 
30 Ti'anseo prima discentium elementa, in quibus et 
ipsis parum laboratur : nee in auctoribiis cognoscendis 
nee in evolvenda antiquitate nee in notitia vel rerum 
vel liominum vel teniponun satis operae insumitur. 
Sed expetuntur quos rhetoras vocant ; quorum pro- 
fessio quando primum in hane urbem introducta sit, 
quamque nullam apud maiores nostros auctoritatem 
habuerit, statim tlicturus referam necesse est animum 
ad eam disciplinam qua usos esse eos oratores ac- 
cepimus quorum infinitus labor et cotidiana meditatio 
et in omni genere studiorum adsiduae exereitationes 
ipsorum etiam eontinentur libris. Notus est vobis 
utique Ciceronis liber qui Brutus inscribitur, in euius 
extrema parte (nam prior commemorationem veterum 
oratorum habet) sua initia, suos gradus, suae elo- 
quentiae velut quandani educationem refert : se 
apud Q. Mueium ius civile didicisse, apud Philonem 
Academicum, apud Diodotum Stoicum omnes philo- 
sophiae partes penitus hausisse ; neque iis doctoribus 
contentum quorum ei eopia in urbe contigerat, 
Achaiam quoque et Asiam peragrasse, ut omnem 
omnium artium varietatem complecteretur. Itaque 
hercle in libris Ciceronis deprehendere licet non 
geometriae, non niusicae, non grammaticae, non 


tion of discipline^ or by giving proof of their ability 
to teach that they get pupils together, but by pushing 
themselves into notice at morning calls and by the 
tricks of toadyism. 

" I pass by the first rudiments of education, 
though even these are taken too lightly : it is in 
the reading of authors, and in gaining a know- 
ledge of the past, and in making acquaintance 
with things ^ and persons and occasions that 
too little solid work is done. Recourse is had 
instead to the so-called rhetoricians. As I mean to 
speak in the immediate sequel of the period at which 
this vocation first made its way to Rome, and of the 
small esteem in which it Avas held by our ancestors, 
I must advert to the system which we are told was 
followed by those orators whose unremitting industry 
and daily })re})aration and continuous practice in 
every department of study are referred to in their 
own j)ublished works. You are of coui'se familiar 
with Cicero's ' Brutus,' in the concluding portion of 
which treatise — the first part contains a review of 
the speakers of former days — he gives an account 
of his own first beginnings, his gradual pi'ogress, and 
what I may call his evolution as an orator. He tells 
us how he studied civil law with Q. Mucius, and 
thoroughly absorbed philosophy in all its depart- 
ments as a pupil of Philo the Academic and Diodotus 
the Stoic ; and not being satisfied with the teachers 
who had been accessible to him at Rome, he went to 
Greece, and travelled also through Asia Minor, in 
order to acquire a comprehensive training in every 
variety of knowledge. Hence it comes that in Cicero's 
works one may detect the fact that he was not 
lacking in a knowledge of mathematics, of music, of 
1 See note 48. p. 141. 



denique ullius ingenuae artis scientiam ei defuisse. 
Ille dialecticae subtilitatem, ille nioralis partis utilit- 
atem^ ille rerum motus causasque cognoverat. Ita 
est enim, optimi viri, ita : ex multa eruditione et 
plurimis artibus et omnium rerum scientia exundat 
et exuberat ilia admirabilis eloquentia ; neque oratoris 
vis et facultaSj sicut ceterarum rerum, angustis et 
brevibus terininis eluditur, sed is est orator qui de 
omni quaestione pulchre et ornate et ad persuadend- 
um apte dicere pro dignitate rerum, ad utilitatem 
temporum, cum voluptate audientium possit. 
3 1 Hoc sibi illi veteres persuaserant, ad hoc efficiendum 
intellegebant opus esse, non ut in rhetorum scholis 
declamarent, nee ut fictis nee ullo modo ad veritatem 
accedentibus controversiis linguani modo et vocem 
exercerent, sed ut iis artibus pectus implerent in 
quibus de bonis ac malis, de honesto et tuqii, de 
iusto et iniusto disputatur ; haee enini est oratori 
subiecta ad dicendum materia. Nam in iudiciis fere 
de aequitate, in deliberationibus de ulililate, in laiida- 
tionibus ^ de honestate disserimus, ita tamen ut plerum- 
que haec in vicem misceantur : de quibus copiose et 
varie et ornate nemo dicere potest nisi qui cognovit 
naturam humanam et vim virtutum pravitatemque 

1 See note 49, p. 141. 


linguistics — in short, of any department of the 
higher learning. Yes, Cicero was quite at home in 
the subtleties of dialectic, in the practical lessons 
of ethical philosophy, in the changes and origins of 
natural phenomena. Yes, my good friends, that is 
the fact : it is only from a wealth of learning, and a 
multitude of accomplishments, and a knowledge 
that is universal that his marvellous eloquence wells 
forth like a mighty stream. The orator's function 
and activity is not, as is the case with other 
pursuits, hemmed in all round within narrow bound- 
aries. He only deserves the name who has the 
ability to speak on any and every topic with grace 
and distinction of style, in a manner fitted to win con- 
viction, ap])ro})riately to the dignity of his subject- 
matter, suitably to the case in hand, and with 
resulting gratification to his audience. 

"This was fully understood by the men of former 
days. They were well aware that, in order to attain 
the end in view, the practice of declamation in 
the schools of rhetoric was not the essential matter, 
■ — the training merely of tongue and voice in 
imaginary debates which had no point of contact 
with real life. No, for them the one thing needful was 
to stock the mind with those accomplishments which 
deal with good and evil, virtue and vice, justice and 
injustice. It is this that forms the subject-matter of 
oratory. Speaking broadly, in judicial oratory our 
argument turns upon fair dealing, in the oratory of 
debate upon advantage, in eulogies upon moral 
character, though these topics quite frequently over- 
lap. Now it is impossible for any speaker to treat 
them with fullness, and variety, and elegance, unless 
he has made a study of human nature, of the meaning 



vitiorum et intellectum eorum quae nee in virtutibus 
nee in vitiis numerantur. Ex his fontibus etiam ilia 
profluunt, ut facilius iram iudicis vel instiget vel 
leniat qui scit quid ira^ et proniptius ad miserationem 
impellat qui scit quid sit misericordia et quibus animi 
motibus concitetur. In his artibus exercitationibus- 
que versatus orator^ sive apud infestos sive apud 
cupidos sive apud invidentes sive apud tristes sive 
apud timentes dicendum habuerit, tenebit venas 
animorum, et prout cuiusque natura postuiabit ad- 
hibebit manum et teniperabit orationem^ parato omni 
instruniento et ad omnem usum reposito. Sunt apud 
quos adstrictum et collectum et singula statim argum- 
enta concludens dicendi genus phis fidei meretur : 
apud hos dedisse operam dialeeticae proficiet. Alios 
fusaetaequalis et ex communibus ducta sensibus oratio 
magis delectat ; ad hos permovendos mutuabimur a 
Peripateticis aptos et in omnem disputationem paratos 
iam locos. Dabunt Acadeniici pugnacitatem^ Plato 
altitudinem, Xenophon iucunditatem ; ne Epicuri 
quidem et Meti'odori honestas quasdam exclaniationes 
adsuniere iisque^ prout res poscit, uti alienum erit 
oratori. Neque enim sapientem informamus neque 
Stoiconim comitem, sed enni qui quasdam artes 


of goodness and the wickedness of vice, and unless 
he has learnt to appreciate the significance of what 
ranks neither on the side of virtue nor on that of 
vice. This is the source from which other qualifications 
also are derived. The man who knows what anger 
is will be better able either to Avork on or to mollify 
the resentment of a judge, just as he who under- 
stands compassion, and the emotions by which it is 
aroused, will find it easier to move him to pity. If 
your orator has made himself familiar with these 
branches by study and practice, whether he has to 
address himself to a hostile or a friendly or a grudging 
audience, whether his hearers are ill-humoured or 
apprehensive, he will feel their pulse, and will handle 
theni in every case as their character requires, and 
will give the right tone to what he has to say, keeping 
the various implements of his craft lying ready to 
hand for any and every purpose. There are some 
with whom a concise, succinct style carries most 
conviction, one that makes the several lines of proot 
yield a rapid conclusion : with such it will be an 
advantage to have paid attention to dialectic. Others 
are more taken with a smooth and steady flow ol 
speech, drawn from the fountain-head of universal 
experience : in order to make an impression upon 
these we shall borrow from the Peripatetics their 
stock arguments, suited and ready in advance for 
either side of any discussion. Combativeness will be 
the contribution of the Academics, sublimity that of 
Plato, and charm that of Xenophon ; nay, there will 
be nothing amiss in a speaker taking over even some 
of the excellent aphorisms of Epicurus and Metro- 
dorus, and applying them as the case may demand. 
It is not a professional })hilosopher that we are de- 
lineating, nor a hanger-on of the Stoics, but the man 
G 97 


haurire^ omnes libare debet. Ideoque et iuris civilis 
scientiam veteres oratores comprehendebant, et gram- 
matica musica geometria imbuebantur. Incidunt enim 
causae, plurimae quidem ae paeiie omnes, quibusiuris 
notitia desideratur, pleraeque autem in quibus haec 
quoque scientia requiritur. 
32 Nee quisquam resjjondeat sufficere ut ad tempus 
simplex quiddam et uuiforme doceamur. Primum 
enim aliter utimur propriis, aliter commodatis, longe- 
qiie interesse manifestum est possideat quis quae 
profert an mutuetur. Deinde ipsa multarum artium 
scientia etiam aliiid agentes nos ornat, atqiie ubi 
minime credas eminet et excellit. Idqiie non doctus 
modo et prudens auditor, sed etiam populus intellegit, 
ac statim ita laiide prosequitur ut legitime studuisse, 
ut per omnes eloquentiae numeros isse, ut denique 
oratorem esse fateatur; quern non posse aliter exsist- 
ere nee exstitisse umquam confirmo nisi eum qui, 
tamquam in aciera omnibus armis instructus, sic in 
forum omnibus artibus armatus exierit. Quod adeo 
neglegitur abhorum temporum disertis ut in actioni- 
bus eorum huius quoque cotidiani sermonis foeda ac 


who, while he ought lliorouglily to absorb certam 
branches of study, should also have a bowing acquaint- 
ance with them all. That is the reason why the orators 
of former days made a point of acquiring a knowledge 
of civil law, while they received a tincture also of 
literature, music, and mathematics. In the cases that 
come one's way, what is essential in most instances, 
indeed almost invariably, is legal knowledge, but 
there are often others in which you are expected to 
be well versed also in the subjects just mentioned. 

" Do not let any one argue in reply that it is enough 
for us to be coached in some straightforward and 
clearly defined issue in order to meet the case imme- 
diately before us. To begin with, the use we make 
of Avhat belongs to ourselves is quite different from our 
use of what we take on loan : there is obviously a wide 
gulf between owning what we give out and borrowing 
it from others. In the next place, breadth of culture 
is an ornament that tells of itself even when one is 
not making a point of it : it comes prominently into 
view where you would least expect it. This fact is 
fully appreciated not only by the learned and 
scholarly portion of the audience, but also by the rank 
and file. They cheer the speaker from the start, 
protesting that he has been properly trained, that he 
has gone through all the points of good oratory, and 
that he is, in short, an orator in the true sense of 
the word : and such an one cannot be, as I maintain, 
and never was any other than he who enters the lists 
of debate with all the equipment of a man of learning, 
like a warrior taking the field in full armour. Our 
clever speakers of to-day, however, lose sight of this 
ideal to such an extent that one can detect in their 
pleadings the shameful and discreditable blemishes 



pudenda vitia deprehendantur ; ut ignorent leges, 
non teneant senatus consulta, ius htiitis civitatis i ultro 
derideant, sapientiae vero studium et praecepta priid- 
entium penitus reformident. In paucissimos sensus 
et angustas sententias detrudunt eloquentiam velut 
expulsam regno siio, ut quae olini omnium artium 
domina pulclierrimo comitatu pectora implebat, nunc 
circumcisa et amputata, sine apparatu, sine honore, 
paene dixerim sine ingenuitate, quasi una ex sordi- 
dissimis artificiis diseatur. 

Ergo banc primam et praecipuam causam arbitror 
cur in tantum ab eloquentia antiquoruni oratorum 
recesserimus. Si testes desiderantur, quos potiores 
nominabo quam apud Graecos Demosthenem, quem 
studiosissimum Platonis auditorem fuisse memoriae 
proditum est ? Et Cicero 2 his, ut opinor, verbis re- 
fert, quidquid in eloquentia effecerit, id se non rheto- 
rum qfficinis, sed Academiae spatiis consecutum. Sunt 
aliae causae, magnae et graves, quas a vobis aperiri 
aequum est, quoniam quidem ego iam meum niunus 
explevi, et quod mihi in consuetudine est, satis mult- 
os offendi, quos, si forte haec audierint, certum 
habeo dicturos me, dum iuris et philosophiae scient- 
iam tamquam oratori necessariam laudo, ineptiis 
meis plausisse." 
3 Et Maternus " Mihi quidem " inquit " susceptum a 
te munus adeo peregisse nondum videris ut incohasse 

1 See note 50, p, 142. 

2 See uote51,p. 142. 



even of our everyday speech. They know nothing 
of statute-law, they have no hold of the decrees of the 
senate, tliey go out of their way to show contempt 
for the law of the constitution, and as for the pursuit 
of philosophy and the sages' saws they regard them 
with downright dismay. Eloquence is by them de- 
graded, like a discrowned queen, to a few common- 
places and cramped conceits. She who in days of 
yore reigned in the hearts of men as the mistress of 
all the arts, encircled by a brilliant retinue, is now 
curtailed and mutilated, shorn of all her state, all her 
distinction, I had almost said all her freedom, and is 
learnt like any vulgar handicraft. 

" This then I take to be the first and foremost reason 
why Ave have degenerated to such an extent from the 
eloquence of the orators of old. If you want wit- 
nesses, what weightier evidence can I produce than 
Demosthenes among the Greeks, who is said to have 
been one of Plato's most enthusiastic students .'' Our 
own Cicero tells us too — I think in so many words — 
that anything he accomplished as an orator he owed 
not to the workshops of the rhetorician, but to the 
spacious precincts of the Academy. There are other 
reasons, important and weighty, which ought in 
all fairness to be unfolded by you, since I have now 
done my part and have as usual put up the backs of 
quite a number, who will be sure to say, if my words 
chance to reach their ears, that it is only in order to 
cry uj) my own jiet vanities that I have been extolling 
a knowledge of law and philosophy as indispensable 
to the oi'ator." 

"Nay," said Maternus, "it seems to me that you 
have failed so far to fulfil the task you undertook. 
You have only made a beginning of it, and you have 
traced out for us what I take to be nothing more 



tantum et velut vestigia ac liniamenta quaedam 
ostendisse videaris. Nam quibus arlihus instrui veteres 
oratores soliti sint dixisti, differentiamque nostrae 
desidiae et inscientiae adversus acerrima et fecund- 
issima eorum studia demonstrasti : cetera exspecto, 
ut quera ad modum ex te didici quid aut illi seierint 
aut nos nesciamus, ita hoc quoque cognoscanflj quibus 
exercitationibus iuvenes iam et forum ingressuri 
confirmare et alere ingenia sua soliti sint. Neque 
enim tantum arte et scientia, sed longe magis 
facultate et usn eloquentiam continerij nee tu, puto, 
abnues et hi significare vultu videntur." 

Deinde cum Aper quoque et Secundus idem 
adnuissentj Messalla quasi rursus incipiens : 
" Quoniam initia et semina veteris eloquentiae 
satis demonstrasse videor, docendo quibus artibus 
antiqui oratores institui erudirique soliti sint^ 
persequar nunc exercitationes eorum. Quamquam 
ipsis artibus inest exercitatio, nee quisquam percipere 
tot tarn varias ac reconditas res potest, nisi ut 
scientiae meditatio, meditationi facultas, facultati 
usus eloquentiae accedat. Per quae coUigitur eand- 
em esse rationem et percipiendi quae proferas 
et proferendi quae perceperis. Sed si cui obscuri- 
ora haec videntur isqiie scientiani ab exercitatione 


than the bare outline of the subject. You have spoken, 
it is true, of the acconipHshments wliich formed as a 
rule the equipment of the orators of bygone days, and 
you have set forth our indolence and ignorance in 
strong contrast to their enthusiastic and fruitfulapplica- 
tion. But I am looking for what is to come next. You 
have taught me the extent of their knowledge and 
our abysmal ignorance : what I want also to know 
about is the methods of training by which it was 
customary for their young men, when about to enter 
on professional life, to strengthen and develop their 
intellectual powers. For the true basis of eloquence 
is not theoretical knowledge only, but in a far greater 
degree natural capacity and practical exercise. To 
this view I am sure you will not demur, and our 
friends hei'e, to judge by their looks, seem to indicate 

Both Aper and Secundus expressed agreement with 
this statement, whereupon Messalla made what may 
be called a fresh start. " Since 1 have given," he said, 
"^what seems to be a sufficient account of the first 
beginnings and thegerms of ancient oratory, by setting 
forth the branches on which the orators of former days 
were wont to base their training and instruction, I shall 
now proceed to take up their practical exercises. 
And yet theory itself involves practice, and it is 
impossible for an\' one to grasp so manv diverse and 
abstruse subjects, unless his theoretical knowledge is 
I'e-enforced by practice, his practice by natural 
ability, and his ability by experience of public speak- 
ing. The inference is that there is a certain identity 
between the method of assimilating what you express 
and that of expressing what you have assimilated. But 
if any one thinks this a dark saying, and wants to 
separate theory from practice, he must at least admit 



sepanit, illud certe concedet^ instructum et plenum 
his artibus animum longe paratiorem ad eas exercita- 
tiones venturuni quae propriae esse oratoruni 
3i Ergo apud niaiores iiostros iuvenis ille qui foro et 
eloquentiae parabatur, imbutus lam domestica dis- 
ciplina, refertus lionestis studiis, deducebatur a patre 
vel a jiropinquis ad eum oratorem qui princij^em in 
civitate locum obtinebat. Hunc sectari, hunc pro- 
sequi, huius omnibus dictionibus interesse sive in 
iudiciis sive in contionibus adsuescebat, ita ut alter- 
cationes quoque exciperet et iurgiis interesset, utque 
sic dixerim, pugnare in proelio disceret. Magnus 
ex hoe usus, multum constantiae^ plurimum iudicii 
iuvenibus statim contingebatj in media lucestudenti- 
bus atque inter ipsa discrimina, ubi nemo impune 
stulte aliquid aut contrarie dicit quo minus et index 
res})uat et adversarius exprobret, ipsi denique advocati 
aspernentur. Igitur vera st;itim et incorrupta elo- 
quentia imbuebantur ; et quamquam unum seque- 
rentur^ tanien omnes eiusdem aetatis patronos in 
})lurimis et causis et iudiciis cognoscebant ; habeb- 
antque ipsius populi diversissimarum aurium copiam, 
ex qua facile deprehenderent quid in quoque vel proba- 
retur vel displiceret. Ita nee praeceptor deerat, optim- 



that the man whose mind is fully furnished with 
such theoretical knowledge will come better prepared 
to the practical exercises which are commonly re- 
garded as the distinctive training of the orator. 

" Well then, in the good old days the young man 
who was destined for the oratoiy of the bai*, after 
receiving the rudiments of a sound training at home, 
and storing his mind with liberal culture, was taken 
by his father, or his relations, and placed under the 
care of some orator who held a leading position at 
Rome. The youth had to get the habit of following 
his patron about, of escorting him in })ublic, of sup- 
porting him at all his appearances as a speaker, 
whether in the law courts or on the platform, hearing 
also his word-combats at first hand, standing by him in 
his duellings, and learning, as it were, to fight in the 
fighting-line. It was a method that secured at once 
for the young students a considerable amount of 
experience, great self-possession, and a goodly store 
of sound judgment : for they cari'ied on their studies 
in the light of open day, and amid the very shock of 
battle, under conditions in which any stupid or ill- 
advised statement brings prompt retribution in the 
shape of the judge's disapproval, taunting criticism 
from your opponent — yes, and from your own sup- 
porters expressions of dissatisfaction. So it was a 
genuine and unndulterated eloquence that they were 
initiated in from the very first ; and though they at- 
tached themselves to a single speaker, yet they got to 
know all the contemporary members of the bar in a 
great variety of both civil and criminal cases. More- 
over a public meeting gave them the opportunity of 
noting marked divergences of taste, so that they could 
easily detect what commended itself in the case of 
each individual speaker, and what on the other hand 



us quidem et electissimus, qui faciem eloquentiae, 
non imaginem praestaret, nee adversarii et aemuli 
ferrOj non rudibus dimicantes, nee auditorium semper 
plenum, semper novum, ex invidis et faventibus, ut 
nee bene nee male dieta dissimularentur. Seitis enim 
magnam illam et duraturam eloquentiae famam non 
minus in diversis subselliis parari quam suis ; inde 
quin immo constantius surgere, ibi fidelius corrob- 
orari. Atque hercule sub eius modi praeceptoribus 
iuvenis ille de quo loquimur, oratorum discipulus, 
fori auditor, seetator iudieiorum, eruditus et adsue- 
faetus alienis experimentis, eui cotidie audienti notae 
leges, non novi iudicum vultus, frequens in oeulis 
consuetudo contionum, saepe cognitae populi aui'es, 
sive aceusationem susceperat sive defensionem, solus 
statim et unus cuicumque eausae par erat. Nono 
deeimo aetatis anno L. Crassus C. Carbonem, uno et 
vieensimo Caesar Dolabellam, altero et vicensimo 
Asinius Pollio C, Catonem, non multum aetate 
antecedens Calvus Vatinium iis orationibus insecuti 
sunt quas hodie quoque ^ eum admiratione legimus. 
35 At nunc adulescentuli nostri deducuntur in scholas 

1 See note 52, p. 142. 



failed to please. In this way they could command, 
firstly, a teacher, and him the best and choicest of 
his kind, one who could show forth the true features 
of eloquence, and not a weak imitation ; secondly, 
opponents and antagonists, who fought with swords, 
not with wooden foils ; and thirdly, an audience 
always numerous and always different, composed of 
friendly and unfriendly critics, who would not let any 
points escape them, whether good or bad. ¥oy the 
oratorical renown that is great and lasting is built up, 
as you know, quite as much among the opposition 
benches as on those of one's own side ; indeed, its 
growth in that quarter is sturdier, and takes root 
more firmly. Yes, under such instructors the young 
man who is the subject of this discourse, the pupil of 
real orators, the listener in the forum, the close 
attendant on the law courts, trained to his work in 
the school of other people's effoi'ts, who got to know 
his law by hearing it cited every day, who became 
familiar with the faces on the bench, who made the 
practice of public meetings a subject of constant 
contemplation, and who had many opportunities of 
studying the vagaries of the popular taste, — -such a 
youth, whether he undertook to appear as prose- 
cutor or for the defence, was competent right away 
to deal with any kind of case, alone and unaided. 
Lucius Crassuswas only eighteen when he impeached 
Gaius Carbo, Caesar twenty when he undertook the 
prosecution of Dolabella, Asinius Pollio twenty-one 
when he attacked Gaius Cato, and Calvus not much 
older when he prosecuted Vatinius. The s])eeches 
they delivered on those occasions are read to this day 
with admii'ation. 

" But nowadays our boys are escorted to the 



istorum qui rhetores vocantur, quos paulo ante 
Ciceronis tempora exstitisse nee placuisse niaioribus 
nostris ex eo manifestum est quod a Crasso et 
Domitio censoribus cludere, ut ait Cicei'o^ 'ludum 
impudentiae ' iussi sunt. Sed ut dicere institueram, 
deducuntur in scholas de quibus ^ non facile dixerim 
utrumne locus ipse an condiscipuli an genus 
studioruni ])lus mali ingeniis adferant. Nam in 
loco nihil reverentiae est^ scilicet in quern ^ nemo 
nisi aeque imperitus intrat ; in condiscipulis nihil 
profectus, cum pueri inter pueros et adulescentuli 
inter adulescentulos pari securitate et dicant et 
audiantur ; ipsae vero exercitationes magna ex parte 
contrariae. Nempe enim duo genera materiarum 
apud rhetoras tractantur^ suasoriae et controversiae. 
Ex his suasoriae quidem etsi, tamquam plane leviores 
et minus prudentiae exigentes^ pueris delegantur, 
controversiae robustioribus adsignantur, — quales, per 
fidem, et quam incredibiliter compositae ! Sequitur 
autem ut materiae abhorrenti a veritate declamatio 
quoque adhibeatur. Sic fit ut tyrannicidarum prae- 
mia aut vitiatarum electiones aut pestilentiae 
remedia aut incesta matrum aut quidquid in schola 

^ See note 54, p. 142. 
2 See uote 55, p. 142. 



schools of the so-called ' professors of rhetoric,' — 
persons who came on the scene just before the time 
of Cicero but failed to find favour with our forefathers, 
as is obvious from the fact that the censors Crassus and 
Domitius ordered them to shut down what Cicero 
calls their ' school of shamelessuess.'^ They are es- 
corted, as I was saying, to these schools, of which it 
would be hard to say what is most prejudicial to their 
intellectual growth, the place itself, or their fellow- 
scholars, or the studies they pursue. The place has 
nothing about it that commands respect, — no one 
enters it who is not as ignorant as the rest ; there is 
no profit in the society of the scholars, since they ai'e 
all either boys or young men who are equally devoid 
of any feeling of responsibility whether they take the 
floor or provide an audience ; and the exercises in 
which they engage largely defeat their own objects. 
You are of coinse aware that there are two kinds 
of subject-matter handled by these professors, the 
deliberative and the disputatious. Now while, as 
regards the former, it is entrusted to mere boys, as 
being obviously of less importance and not making 
such demands on the judgment, tlie more mature 
scholars are asked to deal with the latter, — but, good 
heavens ! what poor quality is shown in their themes, 
and how unnaturally they are made up ! Then in 
addition to the subject-matter that is so remote from 
real life, there is the bombastic style in which it is 
presented. And so it comes that themes like these : 
' the reward of the king-killer,' or ' the outraged 
maid's alternatives,' or ' a remedy for the jilague,' 
or ' the incestuous mother,' and all the other topics 
that are treated every day in the school, but seldom 

1 See note 53, p. 142. 



cotidie agitur, in foro vel raro vel numqiiam, 
ingentibus verbis prosequantur : cum ad veros iudices 
ventum . . . ^ 
36 ... rem cogitare ; nihil humile, nihil abiectum 
eloqui poterat. Magna eloquentia, sicut flamma, 
materia alitur et motibus excitatur et urendo clarescit. 
Eadeni ratio in nostra quoque civitate antiquorum 
eloquentiam provexit. Nam etsi horum quoque 
temporum oratores ea consecuti sunt quae eomposita 
et quieta et beata re publica tribui fas erat, tamen 
ilia perturbatione ac licentia plura sibi adsequi 
videbantur, cum niixtis omnibus et moderatore uno 
carentibus tantum quisque orator saperet quantum 
erranti populo persuadere poterat. Hinc leges 
adsiduae et populare nomen, hinc contiones magis- 
tratuum paene pernoctantium in rosti'is, hinc accusa- 
tiones potentium reorum et adsignatae etiam domibus 
inimicitiae, hinc procerum factiones et adsidua senatus 
adversus plebem certamina. Quae singula etsi dis- 
trahebant rem publicam, exercebant tamen illorum 
temporum eloquentiam et magnis cumulai'C praemiis 
videbantur^ quia quanto quisque plus dicendo pot- 
erat, tanto facilius honores adsequebatur, tan to 
magis in ipsis honoribus collegas suos anteibat, 
tanto plus apud principes gratiae^ plus auctoritatis 

1 See note nO, p. 142. 


or never in actual practice^ are set forth in magni- 
loquent phraseology ; but when the speaker comes 
before a real tribunal . . . 

"... to have regard to the subject in hand. 
With him it was an impossibility to give forth any 
utterance that was trivial or commonplace. Great 
oratory is like a flame : it needs fuel to feed it, move- 
ment to fan it, and it brightens as it burns. 

"At Rome too the eloquence of our forefathers owed 
its developnaent to the same conditions. For al- 
though the orators of to-day have also succeeded 
in obtaining all the influence that it would be proper 
to allow them under settled, peaceable, and prosperous 
political conditions, yet their predecessors in those 
days of unrest and unrestraint thought they could 
accomplish more when, in the general ferment and 
without the strong hand of a single ruler, a speaker's 
political wisdom was measured by his power of carry- 
ing conviction to the unstable populace. This was the 
source of the constant succession of measures put 
forward by cham})ions of the })eople's rights, of the 
harangues of state officials who almost spent the 
night on the hustings, of the impeachments of 
powerful criminals and hereditary feuds between 
whole families, of schisms among the aristocracy and 
never-ending struggles between the senate and the 
commons. All this tore the conmionwealth in pieces, 
but it provided a sphere for the oratory of those days 
and heaped on it what one saw were vast rewards. 
The more influence a man could wield by his powers 
of speech, the more readily did he attain to high 
office, the further did he, when in office, outstrip his 
colleagues in the race for precedence, the more did 
he gain favour with the great, authority with the 



apud patreSj plus notitiae ac nominis apud plebem 
parabat. Hi clientelis etiam exterarum nationum 
reduudabant, hos ituri in provincias magistratus 
reverebantur, hos reversi colebant, hos et praeturae 
et consulatus vocare idtro videbantur, hi ne privati 
quidem sine potestate erant, cum et populum et 
senatum consilio et auctoritate regerent. Quin inimo 
sibi persuaserant neminem sine eloquentia aut adse- 
qui posse in civitate aut tueri conspicuum et eminent- 
em locum : nee mirum, cum etiam inviti ad populum 
producerentur, cum parum esset in senatu breviter 
censere, nisi qui ingenio et eloquentia sententiam 
suam tueretur, cum in aliquam invidiam aut crimen 
vocati sua voce respondendum haberent, cum testi- 
monia quoque in tw/Zaw publicis nonabsentes necper 
tabellam dare^sed coram et praesentes dicerecogerent- 
ur. Ita ad summa eloquentiae praemia magna etiam 
necessitas accedebat ; et quo modo disertum haberi 
pulchrum et gloriosum, sic contra mutum etelinguem 
videri deforme habebatur. 
37 Ergo non minus rubore quam praemiis stimulaban- 
tur ne clientulorum loco potius quam patronorum 
numerarentur, ne traditae a maioribus necessitudines 



senate, and name and fame with tlie common people. 
These were the men who liad whole nations of 
foreigners under their protection, several at a time ; 
the men to Avhom state officials presented their 
humble duty on the eve of their departure to take 
u}) the government of a province, and to whom they 
paid their respects on their return ; the men who, 
without any effort on their own part, seemed to have 
praetorships and consulates at their beck and call ; 
the men who even when out of office were in ])ower, 
seeing that by their advice and authority they could 
bend both the senate and the people to their will. 
With them moreover it was a conviction that without 
eloquence it was impossible for any one either to 
attain to a position of distinction and prominence in 
the community, or to maintain it : and no wonder they 
cherished this conviction, when they were called 
on to appear in public even when they would rather 
not, when it was not enough to move a brief resolu- 
tion in the senate, unless one made good one's 
opinion in an able speech, when persons who had in 
some way or other incurred odium, or else were 
definitely charged with some offence, had to put in 
an appearance in pei'son, when moreover evidence in 
criminal trials had to be given not indirectly or by 
affidavit, but personally and by word of mouth. So 
it was that eloquence not only led to great rewards, 
but was also a sheer necessity; and just as it was 
considered gi'eat and glorious to have the reputation 
of being a good speaker, so, on the other hand, it was 
accounted discreditable to be inarticulate and incap- 
able of utterance. 

"Thus it was a sense of shame quite as much as mate- 
rial reward that gave them an incentive. They wanted 
tobe I'anked with patrons rather than poor dependents ; 

H 113 


ad alios transirc iit, ne tamquam inertes et non suttec- 
turi honoribus aut non impetrai-ent aut imj:)etratos 
male tuerentur. Nescio an venerint in manus vestras 
hate Vetera quae et in antiquariorum bibliothecis 
adhiic manentet cum maxime aMuciano contrahuntur, 
ac iam undeeim, ut opinor, Actorum libris et tribus 
Epistularum composita et edita sunt. Ex his intellegi 
potest Cn. Pompeium et M. Crassum non vii'ibus modo 
et armis^ sed ingenio quoque et oratione valuisse ; Len- 
tulos et Metellos et Lueullos et Curiones et ceteiam 
procerum manum multum in his studiis operae curae- 
que })osuissej nee quemquam illis temporibus magnam 
potentiam sine aliqua eloquentia consecutum. 

His accedebat sjilendor reoruni et magnitude causa- 
runij quae et ipsa plurimum eloquentiae praestant. 
Nam multum interest utrumne de furto aut formula 
et interdicto dicendum habeas^ an de ambitu comitio- 
rum, de expilatis sociis et eivibus trucidatis. Quae 
mala sicut non accidere melius est, isque optimus civi- 
tatis status habendus in quo nihil tale patimur, ita cum 
acciderent iugentem eloquentiae matcriam subminis- 
trabant. Crescit enim cum amplitudine rerum vis in- 
genii, nee quisquam claram et inlustrem orationem 


they could not bear to let inherited connections pass 
into the hands of strangers ; and they had to a\ oid the 
reputation for apathy and incompetence that would 
either keep them from obtaining office or make their 
official careers a failure. I wonder if you have seen 
the ancient records which are still extant in tlie 
libraries of collectors, and wliich are even now being 
compiled by Mucianus : they have already been ar- 
ranged and edited in eleven volumes, I think, of Pro- 
ceedings and five of Letters. 1 hey make it clear that 
Gnaeus Pompeius and Marcus Crassus rose to power 
not only as warriors and men of might, but also by 
their talent for oratory; that the Lentuli and the 
Metelli and the Luculli and the Curios and all the 
great company of our nobles devoted great care and 
attention to these pursuits ; and that in their day no 
one attained to sjreat influence without some gift of 

" There was a further advantage in the high rank 
of the persons who were brought to trial and the 
importance of the interests involved, factors which 
are also in a great degree conducive to eloquence. 
For it makes a good deal of difference whether you 
are briefed to speak about a case of theft, or a rule of 
procedure, and the provisional order of a magistrate, 
or about electioneering practices, the robbery of a 
province, and the murder of fellow-citizens. It is 
better, of course, that such horrors should not occur 
at all, and we must regard that as the most enviable 
political condition in which we are not liable to any- 
thing of the kind. Yet when these things did happen, 
they furnished the orators of the day with ample 
material. Hand in hand with the importance of the 
theme goes the growing ability to cope with it, and 
it is a sheer impossibility for any one to produce a 



efficere potest nisi qui causam parem invenit. Non, 
opinor, Demostlienem orationes inlustrant quas ad- 
\'ersus tutores suos composuit^ nee Ciceronem magnum 
oratorem P. Quintius defensus aut Licinius Archias 
faciiint : Catilina et Milo et Verres et Antoniiis banc 
illi faniani circmndederunt^ non quia tanti fuit^ rei 
piiblicae malos ferre cives iit uberem ad dicendum 
materiam oratores haberent, sed, ut subinde admoneo, 
quaestionis meminerimus sciamusque nos de ea re loqui 
quae facilius turbidis et inquietis temporibus exsistit. 
Quis ignorat utilius ac melius esse frui pace quam bello 
vexari ? phu'es tamen bonos proeliatores bella quam 
])ax ferunt. Similis eloquentiae condicio. Nam quo 
saepius steterit tamquam in acie quoque plures et in- 
tulerit ictus et exceperit quoque maiores adversaries 
acrioresque pugnas sibi ipsa desumpserit, tanto altior 
et excelsior et illis nobilitata discriminibus in ore 
hominum agit, quorum ea natura est ut secura velint 
periculosa inireniur ^. 
38 Transeo ad formam et consuetudinem veterum 
iudiciorum. Quae etsi nunc aptior exstiterit ^, elo- 
quentiam tamen illud forum magis exercebat, in quo 
nemo intra paucissimas perorare horas cogebatur 
et liberae comperendinationes crant et modum m 

1 See note 57, p. 144. 

2 See note 58, p. 144. 

3 See note 59, p. 144, 



great and glorious oration unless he has found a theme 
to correspond. It is not, I take it, the speeches which he 
composedin the action hebrought against hisguardians 
that give Demosthenes liis name and fame, nor does 
Cicero rest his claims to greatness as an orator on his 
defence of Publius Quintius or Licinius Archias. No, 
it was a Catiline, a Milo, a V^erres, an Antonius that 
made his reputation for him. I do not mean that it 
was worth the country's while to produce bad citizens, 
just in order that our orators might have an ample 
supply of material ; but let us bear in mind the 
point at issue, as I keep urging you to do, realising 
that our discourse is dealing with an art which comes 
to the front more readily in times of trouble and un- 
rest. We all know that the blessings of peace bring 
more profit and greater hapjiiness than the horrors 
of war ; yet war produces a larger number of good 
fighters than peace. It is the same with eloquence. 
The oftener it takes its stand in the lists, the more 
numerous the strokes it gives and receives, the more 
powerful the opponents and the more keenly con- 
tested the issues it deliberately selects, in like propor- 
tion does eloquence cany its head higher and more 
erect before the eyes of men, deriving ever greater 
lustre from the very hazards it encounters. For men 
are naturally prone, Avhile courting security for them- 
selves, to admire whatever has an element of risk. 

" 1 pass on to the oi'ganisation and procedure of 
the old law-courts. It may nowadays have become 
more practical, but all the same the forum as it then 
was provided a better training-ground for oratoiy. 
There was no obligation on any speaker to complete 
his pleading within an hour or two at the most ; 



dicendo sibi quisque sumebat et numerus neque 
dierum neque patronorum finiebatur. Primus haec 
tertio consulatu Cn. Pompeius adstrinxit.imposuitque 
veluti frenos eloquentiae, ita tamen lit omnia in foro, 
omnia legibus^ omnia apud })raetores gererentur : 
apud qnos quanto maiora negotia olim exei'ceri solita 
sint, quod maius argumentum est quam quod causae 
centumvirales, quae nunc primum obtinent locum, 
adeo splendore aliorum iudiciorum obruebantui* ut 
neque Ciceronis neque Caesaris neque Bruti neque 
Caelii neque Calvi,non denique ullius magni oratoris 
liber apud centumviros dictus legatur, exceptis 
orationibus Asinii quae pro heredibus \ rbiniae in- 
scribuntur, ab ipso tamen Pollione mediis divi 
Augusti temporibus habitae, postquam longa tem- 
porum quies et continuum populi otium et adsidua 
senatus tranquillitas et maxima principis disciplina ^ 
ipsam quoque eloquentiam sicut omnia alia paca- 
verat ^. 
39 Parvum et ridiculum fortasse videbitur quod dic- 
turus sum ; dicam tamen. vel ideo ut rideatur. 
Quantum humilitalis putamus eloquentiae attulisse 
paenulas istas quibus adstricti et velut inclusi cum 
iudicibus fabulamur ? Quantum virium detraxisse 
orationi auditoria et tabularia credimus, in quibus 

1 Se3 note CO, p. 144. 

2 See note Gl, p. 145. 


adjournments were always in order ; as regards a 
time-limit, each man was a law to himself; and no 
attempt was made to define either how many days 
the case was to take or how many counsel were to be 
employed in it. It was Gnaeus Pompeius who, in his 
third consulship, first introduced limitations in regard 
to these matters. He may be said to have curbed 
eloquence with bit and bridle, without however can- 
celling the provision that everything should be done 
in court, according to law, and before a praetor. The 
best proof 3'ou can have of the greater importance of 
the cases dealt with by the praetors in former days 
is the fact that actions before the centumviral court, 
which are now considered to outrank all others, used 
to be so much overshadowed by the prestige of other 
tribunals that there is not a single speech, delivered 
before that court, that is read to-day, either by Cicero, 
or by Caesar, or by Brutus, or by Caelius, or by Calvus, 
or in fact by any orator of rank. The only exceptions 
are the speeches of Asinius Pollio entitled ' For 
Urbinia's Heirs,' and yet these are just the ones 
which he delivered well on in the middle of the reign 
of Augustus, when in consequence of the long period 
of peace, and the unbroken spell of inactivity on the 
part of the commons and of peaceableness on the part 
of the senate, by reason also of the working of the 
great imperial system, a hush had fallen upon 
eloquence, as indeed it had upon the world at large. 
" My next point will perhaps strike you as trivial 
and ridiculous, but I shall make it, even if only to 
excite your ridicule. Take those gowns into which we 
squeeze om-selves when we chat with the court, a 
costume that shackles movement, do we ever reflect 
how largely responsible they are for the orator's loss 



iam fere plurimae causae explicantur ? Nam quo 

modo nobilcs equos cursus et spatia probantj sic est 
aliquis oratorum campus, per quern nisi liberi et soluti 
ferantur debiliiatur ac frangitur eloquentia. Ipsam 
quin ininio curam et diligeiitis stili anxietatem con- 
trariam experimui', quia saepe interrogat iudex quando 
incipias, et ex interrogatione eius incipienduni est: 
frequenter [probationibus et testibus ^] silentium pa- 
tronis indicit. \nus inter liaec dicenti ant alter 
adsistit, et res velut in solitudine agitur. Oratori 
autem clamore plausuque opus est, et velut quodam 
theatro ; qualia cotidie antiquis oratoribus continge- 
bant, cum tot pariter ac tam nobiles forum coartarent, 
cum clientelae quoque ac tribus etmunicipiorum etiam 
legationes ac pars Italiae periclitantibus adsisteret, 
cum in plerisque iudiciis crederet populus Romanus 
sua interesse quid iudicaretur. Satis constat C. 
Cornelium et M. Scaurum et T. Milonem et L. 
Bestiam et P. Vatinium concursu totius civitatis et 

1 See note 62, p. 145. 


of dignity ? Or tliink of the recitation-halls and 
record-offices in which pretty well most cases are 
nowadays despatched, have they not also greatly 
contributed to the emasculation of eloquence ? Why, 
just as with blood-horses it takes a roomy track to 
show their mettle, so orators need a spacious field 
in which to expatiate without let or hindrance, 
if their eloquence is not to lose all its strength 
and pith. Moreover, painstaking preparation and 
the anxious effort for stylistic finish are found 
after all to do more harm than good. The judge 
often asks when you are going to come to the 
point, and you are bound to make a start as soon as 
he puts the question. Just as often he tells counsel 
to stop (so that evidence may be led and witnesses 
examined). All the time the speaker has only two 
or three for an audience, and the hearing goes forward 
in what is a scene of desolation. But your public 
speaker can't get along without ' hear, hear,' and 
the clapping of hands. He must have what I may 
call his stage. This the orators of former times 
could command day after day, when the forum was 
packed by an audience at the same time numerous 
and distinguished, when persons who had to face the 
hazard of a public trial could depend on being sup- 
ported by shoals of clients and fellow-tribesmen, and 
by deputations also from the country towns ; half 
Italy, in fact, was there to back them. These were 
the days when the j)eople of Rome felt that in quite 
a number of cases they had a pei'sonal stake in the 
verdict. We know on good authority that both the 
impeachment and the defence of a Cornelius, a 
Scaurus, a Milo, a Bestia, a Vatinius brought the 
whole community together en masse : so that it would 



accusatos et defensos, iit frigidissimos qiioque ora- 
tores ipsa certantis populi studia excitare et incend- 
ere polucrint. Itaque hercule eius modi libri extant 
ut ijisi quoque qui egerunt non aliis magis orationibus 
iO lam vero contiones adsiduae et datum ius potentis- 
simum quemque vexandi atque ipsa inimicitiamm 
gloria, cum se phirimi disertorum ne a Publico quidem 
Scipione aut L. Sulla aut Cn. Pompeio abstinerent, 
et ad incessendos pvincipes viros, ut est natura in- 
vidiae, pojiuli (jiioquc at histriones auribus uterentur, 
quantum ardorem ingeniis, quas oratoribus faces ad- 
movebant I * 

Non de otiosa et quieta re loquimur et quae prob- 
itate et modestia gaudeat, sed est magna ilia et 
notabilis eloquentia alumna licentiae, quam stulti 
libertatem vocabantj comes seditionum, effrenati pop- 
uli incitamentum, sine obsequio, sine reverential , con- 
tumax, temeraria, adrogans, quae in bene constitutis 
civitatibus non oritur. Quem enim oratorem Lace- 
daemonium, quem Cretensem accepimus ? quarum 
civitatum severissima disciplina et severissimae leges 
traduntur. Ne Macedonum quidem ac Persarum aut 
ullius gentis quae certo imperio contenta fuerit 

1 See note G3, p. 145. 

2 See note G4, p. 145. 


have been impossible for even the most frigid of 
speakers not to be enkindled and set on fire by the 
mere clash of partisan enthusiasm. That is wli}- the 
quality of the ])ublished orations that have come 
down to us is so high that it is by these more than 
by any others that the speakers who appeared on 
either side actually take rank. 

" Think again of the incessant public meetings, of 
the privilege so freely accorded of inveighing against 
persons of position and influence, — yes, and of the 
glory you gained by being at daggers drawn with 
them, in the days when so many clever speakers 
could not let even a Scipio alone, or a Sulla, or a 
Pompeius, and when, taking a leaf out of the book of 
stage-players, they made public meetings also the 
opportunity of launching characteristically spiteful 
tirades against the leading men of the state : how' all 
this nuist have inflamed tlie able debater and added 
fuel to tlie fire of his eloquence ! 

" The art which is the subject of our discourse is not 
a quiet and peaceable art, or one that finds satisfac- 
tion in moral wortli and good behaviour : no, really 
great and famous oratory is a foster-child of licence, 
which foolish men called liberty, an associate of 
sedition, a goad for the unbridled ])opulace. It owes 
no allegiance to any. Devoid of reverence, it is in- 
sulting, off-hand, and overbearing. It is a plant that 
does not grow under a well-regulated constitution. 
Does history contain a single instance of any orator 
at Sparta, or at Crete, two states whose political 
system and legislation were more stringent than any 
other on record ? It is equally true to say that in 
Macedonia and in Persia eloquence was unknown. 


eloquentiam novimus. Rhodii quidam, plurimi Athen- 
icnscs oratores exstiterunt^ apud quos omnia populus, 
omnia imperiti, omnia^ ut sic dixerim, omnes poterant. 
Nostra quoque civitas, donee erravit, donee se partibus 
et dissensionibus et discordiis confecit, donee nulla 
fuit in foro pax, nulla in senatu Concordia, nulla in 
iudiciis moderatio, nulla superiorum reverentia, nullus 
magistratuum modus, tulit sine dubio valentiorem 
eloquentiam, sicut indomitus ager habet quasdam 
herbas laetiores : sed nee tanti rei publicae Grac- 
chorum eloquentia fuit ut ])ateretur et leges, nee bene 
famam eloquentiae Cicero tali exitu pensavit. 
41 Sie quoque quod superest antiqui oratoribus fori 
non emendatae nee usque ad \otum eompositae civi- 
tatis argumentum est. Quis enim nos advoeat nisi 
aut nocens aut miser ? Quod municipium in client- 
elam nostram venit, nisi quod aut vicinus populus 
aut domestica diseordia agitat ? Quam provinciam 
tuemur nisi spoliatam vexatamque ? Atqui melius 
fuisset non queri quam vindicari. Quod si inveni- 
retur aliqua civitas in qua nemo peccaret, supervacuus 
esset inter innocentes orator sicut inter sanos medic- 
us. Quo modo, inquam,^ minimum usus minimumque 
profectus ars medentis habet in iis gentibus quae 

1 See noteGS, p. 145. 


as indeed it was in all states that were content to 
live under a settled government. Rhodes has had some 
orators, Athens a great many : in both communities 
all power was in the hands of the populace — that is to 
say, the untutored democracy. The crowd ruled the 
roost. Likewise at Rome, so long as the constitution 
was unsettled, so long as the country kept Avearing 
itself out with factions and dissensions and disagree- 
ments, so long as there was no peace in the forum, no 
harmony in the senate, no restraint in the courts of 
law, no respect for authority, no sense of propriety 
on the part of the officers of state, the growth of 
eloquence was doubtless sturdier, just as untilled soil 
produces certain vegetation in greater luxuriance. But 
the benefit derived from the eloquence of the Gracchi 
did not make up for what the country suffered from 
their laws, and too dearly did Cicero pay by the 
death he died for his renown in oratory. 

" In the same way what little our orators have left 
them of the old forensic activities goes to show that 
our civil condition is still far from being ideally per- 
fect. Does anyone ever call us lawyers to his aid 
unless he is either a criminal or in distress .'' Does 
any country town ever ask for our protection except 
under pressure either from an aggressive neighbour 
or from internal strife } Are we ever retained for a 
province except where robbery and opjjression have 
been at work ? Yet surely it were better to have no 
grievances than to need to seek redress. If a com- 
munity could be found in which nobody ever did 
anything wrong, orators would be just as superfluous 
among saints as are doctors among those that need 
no physician. Just as the healing art, I repeat, is 
very little in demand and makes very little progress 

* 125 

firraissima valetudine ac saluberrimis coqjoribusutunt- 
ur, sic minor oratorum honor obscuriorque gloria est 
inter bonos mores et in obsequium regentis paratos. 
Quid enim opus est longis in senatu sententiis^ cum 
optimi cito consentiant ? Quid multis apud populum 
contionibus, cum de re })ublica non imperiti et multi 
deliberent^ sed sapientissimus et unus ? Quid volunt- 
ariis accusationibus, ciuii tarn raro et tam parce 
peccetur ? Quid invidiosis et excedentibus modum 
defensionibus, cum cleiuentia cognoscentis obviam 
pericbtantibus eat ? CreditCj optimi et in quantum 
opus est disertissimi viri, si aut vos priuribus saeculis 
aut illi quos miramur his nati essent;, ac deus aliquis 
vitas vestras ac tempora ^ repente mutasset^ nee vobis 
summa ilia laus et gloria in eloquentia neque illis 
modus et temperamentum defuisset : nunc^ quoniam 
nemo eodem tempore adsequi potest magnam famam 
et magnam quietem. bono saeculi sui quisque citra 
obtrectationem altei'ius utatur." 
V2 Finierat Maternus, cum Messalla : " Erant quibus 
contra dicerem, erant de quibus plura dici vellem, 
nisi iam dies esset exactiis." 

" Fiet " inquit Maternus " postea arbitratu tuo, et 

^ See note 66, p. 146, 



in countries whei*e people enjoy good health and 
strong constitutions, so oratory has less prestige and 
smaller consideration where people are well behaved 
and ready to obey their rulers. What is the use of 
long arguments in the senate, when good citizens 
agree so quickly ? What is the use of one harangue 
after another on public platforms, when it is not the 
ignorant multitude that decides a political issue, but 
a monarch who is the incarnation of wisdom ? What 
is the use of taking a prosecution on one's own 
shoulders when misdeeds are so few and so trivial, 
or of making oneself unpopular by a defence of in- 
ordinate length, when the defendant can count on a 
gracious judge meeting him half-way ? Believe me, 
my friends, you who have all the eloquence that 
the times require : if you had lived in bygone clays, 
or if the orators who rouse our admiration had lived 
to-daj^, — if some deity, I say, had suddenly made you 
change places in your lives and epochs, you would 
have attained to their brilliant reputation for elo- 
quence just as surely as they would show your 
restraint and self-control. As things are, since it is 
impossible for anybody to enjoy at one and the same 
time great renown and great re|)ose, let every one 
make the most of the blessings his own times afford 
without disparaging any other age." 

When Maternus had finished speaking, " There 
were some points," Messalla said, " to which I should 
like to take exception, and others which, 1 think, 
might call for fuller treatment. But the hour grows 

"Some other time," Maternus replied, "we shall 
take the matter up again, whenever you please. We 
can then discuss again anything in my argument 


si qua tibi obscura in hoc nieo sernione visa sunt, de 
lis rursus conferemus." 

Ac simul adsurgens et Apruni complexus " Ego " 
inquit "te poetis, Messalla o?«wz6?«' antiquariis ^ criniin- 

"At ego vos rhetoribus et scholasticis " inquit. 

Cum adrisissent, discessinius. 

^ See note 67, p. 14(3. 



that may have struck you as needing further ekicida- 

With that he rose from his seat and put his arms 
round Aper, saying, " We shall both denounce you, — 
I to the poets and Messalla to every lover of anti- 

" And I," said Aper, " shall denounce both of you 
to the teachers of rhetoric and the professors." 

They beamed on each other, and we went our 



1. Leges tu quid. I follow here the reading of 
most manuscripts : leges, inquit, quid Halm, inlelleges 
tu quid Greef. 

2. adgregare. This is the emendation of Muretus : 

most codd. have aggregares ( -em EV-), accepting 

which editors generally insert ut before Domitium 
et Catonem, so as to make the ut . . . assregares 
clause explanatory of novum negotium. But an appo- 
sitive infinitival clause is equally admissible : cp. Cic. 
Brut. § 74 ad id quod instituisti, oratorum genera 
distinguere arlibus . . . adcommodatam. In my edition 
of the Dialogus (Oxford, 1893), I suggested adgreg- 

3. excusent. This verb may be used absolutely, and 
it is unnecessary to insert se, though, on the other 
hand, the pronoun may easily have fallen out between 
the last letter of cognitionibus and the first of excusent. 
Cp.ferat, 10, 24. 

4. Et ego enim : " I too, on my side." Editors, ex- 
cept C. John, follow Pithoeus in suppressing Et, 
though it occurs in all manuscripts. 

5. invenimiis. This is perhaps the simplest emenda- 
tion of the MS. reading inveniri. I had previously 
proposed inveniri contigit, on the strength of the well- 



known use of a passive infinitive witli impersonal 
verbs and phrases : Cic. Mil. § 8 si sceleratos cives 
interfici nefas exset. In any case, those critics and 
editors seem to be wrong who insist on inserting non 
before the verb, on the somewhat pedantic plea that 
Secundiis does not formally act us a judge in what 
follows. For one thing the entrance of Messalla in 
chapter li somewhat alters the development. And 
the whole tone of what goes ])efore the passage under 
consideration is against making Aper definitely rule 
Secundus out. 

6. apnd hos. My reading (for the MS. ajmd eos) 
seems as likely to be right as apud vos (Lipsius, and 
most edd.) or apud nos (C. John). The objection 
urged against it that Tacitus himself is in the back- 
ground, the only other auditor at the moment being 
Secundus, is again somewhat pedantic. Tacitus takes 
no part, it is true, in the discussion : but he has 
already counted himself in, so to speak, with the 
words Igilnr iit iniravimus at the beginning of chapter 3, 
just as he does again with discessimus at the end of the 
whole talk. And, in any case, it would not be un- 
natural here for Aper to take notice of the presence 
of a youthful aspirant to rhetorical fame. 

7. vel ad voluptateni iiicundiits. These words (with 
dulcius in place of iucundius, which comes from Nip- 
perdey) were originally supplied by Ritter as indis- 
pensable to the context, though omitted accidentally 
in the manuscripts. For iucundius others read 
houestius. Cp. 31,9. 

8. qidd est iufins. A recent emendation is that of 
H. Rohl — quid esl pofius. 



9. qtd accmclus. Following C. John, I now return 
to the reading of the manuscripts, instead of substi- 
tuting qua for qui, with Ursinus and editors generally. 
Accinclus is used absolutely : " ready for fighting." 

10. quarnquain grata quae din serantur atque elaho- 
rentur : " though you take pleasure in what needs a 
long time to sow and cultivate," or '' to work up from 
the seedling stage." I retain the reading adopted 
in my edition. For the sentiment, compare the 
motto of McGill University, taken over (perhaps 
without strict regard to the context) from Lucretius 
ii., 11 60, — Grandescunl aucta labore. Andresen thinks 
the subjunctive indefensible, but surely it is not out 
of place when used of an indefinite class or kind of 
growth, and occurring inside a concessive clause. 

C. John undertakes to defend the MS. reading «//«, 
for which grata quae is substituted in the text. He 
thinks that alia may be used by anticipation, as it 
were, and with reference to what follows in the 
sentence, so that it = " quae non sua sponte nas- 

1 ] . apud centuniviros : " before the centumviral 
court," or the Board of a Hundred. This court, which 
dated from early times, was specially charged with 
civil cases, such as those arising out of inheritance, 
wardship, and the like. It became more important 
under the Empire in proportion as other courts 
declined. See ch. 38. 

12. si non ultra oritur : " unless it comes unbidden." 
For ultra the manuscripts give in c//y, which has been 
defended as meaning " if it take not its rise in another 
source." An easy emendation would, of course, be 
in animo, — the abbreviated form of animo {(tlo) being 



very near to that for alio : and this I adopted in my 
edition. U/lro was originally proposed by a reviewer 
in the Atheiueum (February 3^ 1894), and has recently 
been re})eated by H. Wagenvoort jr. in Mneynosyne 
(40.2. If)!^). The suggestion is that the in arose by 
dittography from the final n of non^ and that then 
tdtro became alio. 

13. Quinam inlustriores is Orelli's emendation of the 
MS. reading qui tion illuslres. Others propose Quid ? 
nan illuslres, or Qui tarn ithistres, or Qui illuslriores ? 

14. vacuos occurs only in the Ley den codex^ in 
place of iuvenes, which is omitted in most texts. 

15. miuus Hotos. Here notes was supplied by 
Ursinus : the codd. have minus, which some editors 
convert into minores. 

16. ipsi Lipsius : ipsis codd. 

17. imagines ac tituli might be rendered 'inscribed 
medallions ' : the former are the bronze likenesses of 
the Emperor and other persons of distinction with 
which it was the custom to decorate the atrium^ and 
the tituli are the eulogistic inscriptions placed under- 
neath the medallions. This custom displaced the 
old ' imagines/ busts of ancestors with wax masks, 
previously exhibited by noble families, and often 
borne along in the funeral train of a deceased member 
of the house. The 'new men' had no ancestors to 
commemorate. Cp. ch. 11, ad Jin. 

18. praecerpia Scheie : praecepta ov percepta, codd. 

19. genium Lipsius : ingenium codd. 


20. raiissimarum : " few and far between as they 
are." There is obviously a difficulty here. The 
context would seem to call for the meaning " excel- 
lentissimarum," and it has been proposed to read 
" clarisshnarwn" instead oi' " furissimarum." But that 
is more than Aper would have been inclined to say 
of readings generally. Novak rejects rurissimarum, 
as having in all probability arisen out of a gloss on 
quando. Some one wrote, in answer to this question, 
rarissime, — probably in the margin : and this word 
was afterwards transferx-ed to the text in the shape 
of an adjective. So we have at 41, 3, idem quod nemo 
as a gloss on quis enivi no.t advocal ? John suggests 
that this may also be the explanation of the passage 
already dealt with at 1 , 14, where the MSS. have 
Qui non illustres : tioii being a gloss on qui to show 
what the answer ought to be. 

21. ceteris aliarum artium sludiis, i.e. the pursuit of 
non-literary accomplishments. This somewhat pleo- 
nastic phrase does not call for any emendation (such 
as altiorum, Andresen) : cp. Germ. 4, nuUis aliis aliarum 
nationum conubiis. 

22. feral. Here, as with excusent 5, 3, the verb is 
used absolutely, so that it is unnecessary to follow 
Acidalius in inserting le before it, or (with Halm) to 
read natura le tua. 

23. hanc was suggested by Haase for the MS. aut 
{eliam, Halm, el John). 

2*. ill quibus si quando. I follow E (the Otto- 
bonianus) in omitting altogether the unintelligible 
expressis after quibus, — probably the survival of some 
marginal gloss, now irrecoverable. 



25. cum ijiiidcm principe Nerone. This is the read- 
iiif^ wliich 1 now venture to {propose, and adopt in the 
text. Tlie manuscripts liave cum qtcidtnn in Jierone {iii). 
It is possible that the in may be a survival from 
principe, the contracted form of which (p'n*") may 
have become confused with the preceding qiiidem. 
For the ])lirase cp. principe Angusio, Ann. iii, 71 : 
illo principe i, 81. 

If Lucian Miiller's imperante Nerone is preferred^ 
I would suggest the transposition Nerone imperante : 
the abbreviated form of imperante may have fallen 
out in front of iinprobam. 

26. Nam station hiicnsque . . . melius innocentia 
tueor. The key to this passage is tueor, which is 
aptly followed by 7iec vereor. But it necessitates the 
change of the MS. cuiusque to hncnsque. Some 
editors adopt Pichena's alteration of tueor to tuetur, 
retaining cuiusque, and making innocentia nominative^ 
but this gives an awkward transition to the nee vereor 
clause.— The only suggestion on which I would 
venture is tueri reor for tueor : 7iain statuin cuiusque ac 
securitaiem melius innocentia (sc. quemque) tueri reor 
quam eloqiientia, nee vereor, etc. 

27. a quihus praestant nihil, "those Avhom they are 
unable to oblige." Here again I venture to insert 
a conjecture in the text. Praestant niliil seems better 
than non praestant (Lipsius), and gains^ perhaps, by 
l^eing in chiastic relation to aliquid rogentur. The 
nianuscri])ts have neither nihil nor 7io?i. To take the 
text, however, as the manuscript tradition gives it, 
and to understand ii quibus praestant of successful 
suitors chafing under a sense of obligation incurred, 
seems somewhat far-fetched. 



28. omni Walther : ciwi codd. : tamen John. 

29. famamque pallentem. " fame that makes the 
cheek turn pale," i.e. with excitement. Some 
editors prefer the alternative MS. rending palantem = 
vagam : " the talk of the town that flits from mouth 
to mouth " : fallentem has also been suggested, with 
the idea that fame is a " cheat." 

30. nee incertus futuri testumcntum pro pignore 
scribam. It was recognised under the Empire that 
the best security a testator could take for the validity 
of his will was to include the emperor himself in his 
dispositions, and put him down for a handsome 

31. Quandoquc euiin fatalis et metis die.s 

These words were recognised as a verse quotation 
first by Heller (Philol. li, 348 : 1892). Most codd. 
have veniat : if that reading be retained, the 
parenthensis disappears, and a comma must be 
inserted after veniat, to connect closely with statuar. 
Quandoque is indefinite : "some time or other." 

The memory of a pleasant visit to the Deanery of 
Durham in the summer of last year (1912), only a 
few months before he died, may be my excuse for 
quoting here a modern counterpart of the sentiments 
of Maternus in the words used by the late Dean 
Kitchin at the close of his short and sim})le will : 
" Let no one make any memoir or biography of me ; 
may my funeral be as simple as possible, without 
flowers or any show ; a few wild flowers might be 
scattered over my grave. Let my burial be as little 
mournful as ])ossible : the earthly end of a poor 



sinner who dies thankful to the Ahniglity God for a 
long and very happy life." 

32. fratris tid. Messalla's brother, or half-brother, 
was M. Aquilius Regulus, one of the most notorious 
of the delatores, or informers. Pliny frequently 
denounces him (" omnium bipedum nequissimus," the 
most blackguardly of bipeds !) both in that capacity 
and as a toady and legacy-hunter. 

33. parent was added by Lipsius. The alternative 
is to delete antiquis as the survival of some gloss. 
Lipsius also suggested, in place of anliquis, atque id 
eo credo audacius. 

34. prae Catone edd. : pro Catone codd. In place 
of the MS. reading the ed. Bipontina shows the 
conjecture Porciu Catone, and this reading has latterly 
been mentioned again with favour. But surely 
Tacitus would have written by preference Marco 
Catone, to balance Appium Caecum ? 

35. Atticus Ursinus : antiquus codd., and so John. 
The reference is to the distinction between the Attic 
and the Asiatic style of oratory. Cicero aimed at 
reconciling the two, but was considered " parum 
Atticus " and on the side of the Asiani, w^ho were 
florid, turgid, and often excessively rhythmical. 
The Atticists on the other hand exaggerated '•' plain- 
ness " of style, with the result that it became bald 
and bloodless. See on Brutus and Calvus, ch. 17. 

3(). equidem Cassium. These words were supplied 
in the text of my Oxford edition to suggest the 
origin ot an obvious lacuna. The eye of the copyist 
had run from the first Cassium to the second, and he 


omitted the intervening words. They may be re- 
stored somewhat as follows : Nam quatenus . . . solent, 
qui usque ad Cassium [Severum volunt eloquentiam 
aequali et uno tenore proeessisse, libet quaerere 
quibus ille de causis novum dicendi genus inchoare 
ausus sit. Equidem Cassium] quern reum facuuit etc. 

37. at que ex ea codd. : el ex- ea most edd. 

38. Nee ununi de populo, etc. The reading given in 
italics is simply a suggestion to make some sense of 
a corrupt passage. The lacuna after Atli was noted 
by Halm. — In what follows I read quique alii 
< omnes > for the MS. quique alius. 

39. Sordes autem reliquae verhorum : " For the rest, 
his commonplace phraseology." Reliquae ('' in the rest 
of his speeches ') is Sorof's now generally accepted 
emendation for the regulae or illae of the codd. 

40. videmus enim quam is Baehren's emendation of 
the MS. viderimus inquavi, or viderimus in quantum. 
Halm follows Acidalius in reading et videmus in 
quantum, etc. 

41. eiusdem aetatis oratores and senior iam. Now 
that additional evidence is forthcoming in further 
proof of the superiority of the tradition contained 
in what is known as tlie Y family of MSS. over that 
known as X, it will be seen that the order of words is 
rightly given in both these passages as against 
oratores aetatis eiusdem and iam senior (AB, followed 
by Halm). The same applies to ingenuae artis 30, 25, 
as against artis ingenuae. 

42. t si comimis fatefur. No satisfactory explana- 



tion of the manuscript reading has yet been given, 
and the passage is accordingly left unamended in the 
text. Readers may care to compare the following 
suggestions of various editors : si comminayis fatetur 
(Nissen), qua quasi cunvictus fatetur (Halm), qua quasi 
comwinus nisus fatetur {y,\\\\\eY^), quo?ni7iusfatear (John : 
cp. commoda in the MSS for quomudo, 36, ad fin.) : in qua 
nijniru7n fatetur, or ubi sicut omnes fatetur (Peterson). 

43. tamen, Gudeman : aulem, codd. 

44. Aj)er. The name was originally inserted before 
agitare by P. Voss : I follow John in putting it after 
the verb. 

45. frequens exclaviatio. The manuscripts have 
freqnens sicut his clam et exclamatio. In place of the 
unintelligible i/c?/^ his clam et (which is omitted in my 
text), Rhenanus read quibusdam, ^liiWer si dis placet. 
It looks as if another adjective was needed to balance 
foeda et praepostera : qy. frequens etfaceta ? 

46. At ego non verebor. I follow John in restoring 
the old order of beginning the new chapter with 
these words. Modern editors commence with 
Adpara te, below. 

47. Adpara te, " Get ready ! " I adhere to my 
former reading as being nearest to the manuscript 
tradition {Apparate, Aparte, Aperte ) and giving at the 
same time a good sense. Cp. tepara, Cic. Fam. i. 7, 
and 9, 20 : (qy. At para te ?) The suggestion of 
At paret (with a reference to adpareaf in the preceding 
line) might be supported (cp. pro Milone § 1 5), but 
would seem to require a change in what follows, e.g. 
et < tu > potius exsolve. Other emendations are 
At parce (Michaelis), and Ah, parce (Usener). 



48. rerum, homimnn, tevipormn, "things, persons, 
occasions." This is a safe translation, but 
the recurrence of "rerum motus causasque" below 
shows that res really = ''natural phenomena," just 
as homines = " human personality," and tempora = 
"surrounding conditions." It is not quite the same 
division as rerum . . . lemporum . . . audientium, at tlie 
end of the chapter. The reference in " rerum mains 
causascpie," on the following page, is obviously to that 
knowledge of natural science which underlies the 
great poem of Lucretius, de Rerum Katura — 
"philosophia naturalis," as distinct from "moralis" 
and "rationalis" (dialectics), Cic. de Fin. i. 4, Q, and 
Quint, xii. 2, 10. So in the passage now under con- 
sideration, Messalla — after stating that in his judg- 
ment literature {in aucioribus cognoscendis) and history 
(m evolvenda (mfiquiiate) are slurred over and tele- 
scoped, as it were, in the race to get to the professor 
of rhetoric — adds that the same is true of a third 
division, viz. nolitia rerum, hominum, temporum. Of 
these, homines are dealt Avith in 31, 5-19: tempora 
refers to the actual environment at any given time 
(cp, ad uliiilalem temporum, below) "surrounding cir- 
cumstances " ; while res must have special reference, 
as already stated, to the exact sciences, such as 
physics and geonietry, which — along with astronomy 
and natural science — were recognised since the time 
of the Sophists, especially Hippias, as forming a 
desirable and indeed indispensable part of an all-round 
education {iyKVKKioQ iraiceia). 

49. de idilitate, in laudationihus. These words 
were added to the text by Ursinus, as indispensable 
to the context : cp on 5, 1 9- See Cic. de Or. ii, 
§ 104, and the note in my edition of the Dialogus. 



50. his huius civitatis : " the law of the constitution." 
I retain in the text my conjecture hiiius, ■wliich may 
easily have fallen out after ius. The insertion of the 
pronoun may be held to give an added dignity to the 
phrase. On the other hand it must be admitted, in 
view of such references as Legg. i, 4-, 14 and Top. 5, 
28, that ius civitatis by itself in Cicero may = ?M.y 

51. Et Cicero, etc. The reference is to Orator 
§ 12, from which the word afficinis was supplied in 
our text by Haase. 

52. hodie quoque. This is the reading of AB as 
against the Y family of MSS. (hodieque). The latter 
form may be right (Germ. 3, 11). As C. John 
remarks, the way from hodieque to hodie quoque seems 
easier than the reverse order. 

53. ut ait Cicero. The reference is to de Or. iii. 
§ PJ'- Crassus was censor along with Cn. Domitius 
Ahenobarbus, in 92 B.C. For their edict de coercendis 
rhetoribus Latinis, see Suet. Rhet. § 1 : Mommsen, 
Hist. iii. 443-4. 

54. de quihus is my emendation. The MSS. give 
quibus, and all editors follow Schurzfleisch in reading 
in quibus. 

55. scilicet in quern for sed in quern was suggested 
by Acidalius, and seems right, especially as it allows 
us to retain the indicative intrat. For the confusion 
of the compendia for sed and scilicet cp. Cic. Att. 
xiii, 33, § 4. 

5Q. For the lacuna which occurs in the text, and 
is marked in the manuscripts, at the close of the 
preceding chapter, see Introd. p. 9 sqq. The precise 


reading followed at the beginning of eh. 36 comes 
to be of considerable importance, as depending on 
our estimate of the comparative value of the two 
ftmiilies of MSS. X and Y. The former gives rem 
cogitaiit nihil humile vel ahieclum : the latter rem cogilare 
nihil humile nihil abiectum. Now thenotein Decembrio's 
diary, discovered by Sabbadini in 1901,'- runs rem 
cogilare nihil abiecUim, ?iihil humile, and Decembrio is 
understood to have written down his references from 
the codex Hersfeldensis itself, the original of all the 
existing MSS. — the intention of his note being to 
mark the beginning and end of each of the contents 
of the manuscri])ts, and in the case of the Dialogue 
the beginning and end also of the lacuna. His note 
may be taken as confirming cogilare against cogitant, 
and also 7iihil against vel. But the odd thing is that 
he transposes the order of the words, as we have it 
in our MSS., and reads nihil abiectum nihil humile 
(cp. Cic. de Fin. v, 57). It is probable that this 
transposition was made inadvertently — as sometimes 
happens — as Decembrio turned from the codex in 
front of him to make the jotting in his diary. Gude- 
man, indeed, suggests that, owing to the anaphora, 
either nihil hu?uile or Tiihil abiectum had been omitted, 
and was written in above the line in the archetype in 
such a way that a reader would be at a loss to know 
which of the two came first. The copyists of X and 
Y read it one way, and Decembrio another. 

It should be remarked that, in addition to cogilare 
and nihil, Decembrio's note certifies pj-osequanttir 
instead of the rival reading persequantur. Here the 

1 See GudemaD, " Textual Problems in the Dialogus of 
Tacitus," Classical Philology, October 1912, pp. 417-18 ; and 
my article in the American Journal of Philology, January- 
April 1913. 



codd. are divided — proscquioitur ABEV^^ persequuulur 
(^persequntui-) HVCA, persequimur D. 

57. fnit. This is another instance of the '"'return 
to the manuscripts." It is not necessary to accept 
Madvig's /MP777, though most editors have done so. 

58. poiculosa mirentur : "admire whatever has an 
element of risk." This is C. John's addition, which 
seems to yield a good sense. Halm adopted (from 
Baehrens and Vahlen) the reading ut seaui ipsi 
sped are alieiia pericula velint. Other efforts have been 
made to heal tlie breach : id aiicipitia non seciirn velint, 
Schopen ; nf scciira noUnt, Rhenanus ; ut diihia laudent, 
secura ?wlmt, R. Agricola ; id secura vellicent, Peterson. 

59. exstiteril {ex.stitU ?) is as likely to be right here 
as anything else that has been made out of the MS. 
reading est da eiit, Avhich must liave resulted from 
the misinterpretation of compendia. Cp. 10^ ad Jin., 
where the codd. have ex his for exsistere. In the 
text, quae = forma et consuetudo iudiciorum, not 
f. et e. veteruvi iudiciorum. To take quae as = indicia 
would necessitate a change to aptiora. Aplior by 
itself is possible, but we should have expected aplior 
causis agendis, or something of the sort. 

60. maxirna principis discipUna : "the great imperial 
system." There is some discrepancy in the tradition 
here, the X family giving maxima, while Y has 
maximi : Halm and other editors adopt Haase's emen- 
dation maxime. I take maxima to be a complimentary 
epithet of the "disciplina" or '-'administrative 
faculty " of the emperor. — Editors ought here to 
have made a reference to the frequent instances of 
altars with the inscription " Disci2:)linae August! "; 


the same inscription occurs also on the reverse of 
several of the coins of Hadrian. 

61. omnia alia pacaverat. This is the x*eading of 
the Y family {alia omnia E) against omnia depaca- 
verat X. The supposition is that after the first a of 
alia (a'') had become merged in the preceding omnia, 
the reading apacaverat would result, and would be 
speedily changed into depacaverat. At the same time 
it must be admitted that the recurrence of al is 
always suspicious, suggesting as it does a various 
reading: cp. 6, ad Jin., and 7, 11. The point of the 
remark about eloquence having been " reduced to 
quietude " is that it was only when political passions 
had subsided that an orator of standing like Pollio 
could afford to interest himself in a private case. 

62. I have bracketed probationibus et testibus in the 
belief that these words may be a gloss which has 
come in from the margin : thereafter patro7us may 
easily have been changed to paironus, which is the 
reading of the codd. John, on the other hand, 
retains these words, and accepts Weissenborn's con- 
jecture importunus for patro7ius, just as Halm incor- 
porated in his text Haupt's inpatiens. 

63. The question of whether a second lacuna must 
be assumed after faces admovebant, especially in the 
light of the new MS. evidence adduced by Gudeman, 
is discussed in the Introduction, p. 10 : see also 
Am. Jouin. Phil., January-April 191^, P- 4 sqq. 

64. revereniia is my conjecture for the MS. servitide. 
Others have suggested verilate, virtule, severitale 
("moral earnestness"). 

65. Quo modo, inquam. As this sentence involves 

K 145 


a certain repetition, inquam may possibly be con- 
sidered in place. 1 he X family give inde and the 
Y tameii. Halm adopted enim from Heumann, while 
Michaelis reads autem. 

QQ. vitas veslras ac tevipora. This is Bekker's 
reading for the MS. vitas ac vestra tevipora. Halm 
and John bracket vestra. 

67. omnibus antiquariis. I base the reading omni- 
bus, for ciwi of the MS. tradition, on 1 3, 1 7, where see 
note : cp. 2, 17, where, for 07nni EV^CA, ciim is the 
reading of ABDH. Editors generally follow Weis- 
senborn, who suggested autem. 








(a) MSS. 

Only two manuscripts practically are in existence. 

(1) A copy made late in the fifteenth century 
between 1450-1499 by Pomponius Laetus, and now 
in the Vatican Library, No. 3429, known as r^ to 
Furneaux : Laetus made it in order to bind it up 
with his copy of the first edition of Tacitus (pub- 
lished without the Agricula), and so complete for 
himself that edition. Iliis ediiio princeps was printed 
in Venice in 1470. 

Further, Laetus added notes and conjectures, his 
own and others', and marginal and interlinear correc- 
tions : Furneaux marks tlie former r'" and the inter- 
linear corrections r^. 

Of the marginal corrections, the most brilliant — 
indispensable no less than brilliant — is in ch. 4.'), 
where the MSS. read " nos Maurici liusticicjiie visas: 
nos innocenli sanguine Senecio perfudit" For this out- 
rageous and intolerable zeugma Laetus substitutes 
"nos Mmaicuvi Ihisticumque divisimus : nos," &c. ; it 
is not clear whether as a conjecture of his own or 
others, or as a correction already existing in his MS. 

(2) Another late copy of same date, now in the 
Vatican Library, No. 4498, and known as A. This is 
a copy differing in spelling from r, but probably from 
the same archetype, since it shows the same corrupt 
and more or less unintelligible passages. 



(3) There exists also, says Professor Gudeman, a 
third MS. at Toledo, only recently discovered by Pro- 
fessor R. Wuensch, and quoted by liim as T and To- 
letana ; but it remained, even after discovery, largely 
inaccessible, and very little seems to be known of it ; 
its date is said to be between 1471-1 474. Professor 
Gudeman publishes in his German edition many of 
its readings, but their difference from r and A, so far 
as I have noted^ do not appear to possess significance. 

Other Sources 

(4) The first printed edition of Tacitus to include 
the Agricola is by Puteolanus, without date or title, 
but probably about ten years later than that editio 
princeps without the Agricola to which we owe 
Laetus' MS. It was printed at Milan in 1475 ; a 
second edition came out in 1497 at Venice (Philip 

This edition was probably a careless copy from the 
same archetype as r and A, and w ith no independent 
value ; in any case it is less useful than r and A. 

(5) Fulvio Orsini (l 529-1 600), who was librarian 
to Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, and who came into 
the possession of Laetus' MS. (r) and presented it to 
the Vatican Library, also published some notes to 
the Agricola, in whicli he cites from " v c," i.e. vetus 
codex : this vetus codex may be an authority inde- 
pendent of r, and there is this evidence for its 
independence : that his quotations from it do not dis- 
tinguish its marginal or interlinear readings from its 
text, whereas in r they are distinguished. Unfortu- 
nately Orsini when he cites "vc" is not always 
beyond suspicion : he cites " v c '' for Ciceronian 
works, and Cicero's editors suspect his " ancient 
manuscript " to be drawn from the phantasmal tablets 


of the imagination, not earlier than 1529-lbOO : how- 
ever, pnwa/'ociV^ his citations from this source for the 
Agricola are likely to be hona-Jide, since references to 
the same authority for the Annals have been verified. 

Assuming his citations to be both genuine and 
independent of r, there is no further deduction to 
be made from their value, such as it is ; but intrinsi- 
cally it is not great : there is nothing in them to 
affect our main reliance on r. 

It is curious that it is only since 1852 (the edition 
of Wex) that V and A have been used to establish the 
text, so far as it can be established. Editors before 
that time simply used the editio princeps of Puteo- 
lanus, with or without the corrections of their own 

It follows from all this, the two MSS. being so 
much alike and showing the same corruptions, that 
the Agricola is a happy hunting-ground for the textual 

For further details of the MSS., especially for 
particulars of the sixteen pages of the original MS. 
of Enoch of Ascoli (see Introduction to Germunia, 
p. 2.3.5), rediscovered recently, I must refer to my 
learned colleague Principal William Peterson, from 
whom my own acquaintance with the find is derived, 
and to whom such research is a congenial field (see 
pp. 3-.5). 

(b) Date 

Tacitus probably wrote the Agncola between 
October a.d. 97 and January 27, a.d. 98 : i.e. during 
the time when Nerva was still alive, but had already 
shared his power with his heir Trajan (ch. 3, ch. 45). 

From the latter chapter it would appear that in 
any case he did not publish it till after Trajan's 
accession : i.e. till the year 98 a.d. It is in all proba- 



bility his maiden work as a biographer and historian 
or historical essayist^ and precedes the Gennania by 
a few months. 

(c) Purpose 

There has, perhaps, been an unnecessary amount of 
doubt and discussion about its purpose : (1 ) it has even 
been supposed to be French, so to speak, not merely 
in its style (and no one will deny that its tone 
suggests a French essayist and that it passes most 
naturally, if translated, into French) but also in its 
occasion and object; that is, it has been taken to be 
an cloge written for the funeral of its hero, though 
Tacitus, being absent from Rome, could not actually 
have so delivered it. Such funeral orations were 
usual in ancient Rome, whence they have descended 
with many other customs and traits of character to 
modern France. 

But it is too long and too full of extraneous matter 
obviously for such a purpose only. 

(2) It has been taken to be a political pamphlet 
written to justify Agricola's "quietism" under 
Domitian and his "animated moderation" (ch. 42) 
against the intransigeance of the Stoic martyrs and 
rebels : in this case it must also be an apologia for 
Tacitus himself [^' mox nostrae dnxere Helvidiuvi in 
carcerem 7namix, nos Maurician Riisticumqite divisimus : 
nos innocenti sanguine Senecio perfudit" (ch. 45)]. 

(3) It is much more simply and naturally regarded 
as a ballon d'essai, as an introduction to and excerpt 
from his own Histories, which he was already com- 
posing, with biographical details added such as were 
too trivial and too unimportant for a genera] Histor}'^ 
of Rome, but which were quite in place when gathered 
round the })erson of its hero, Agricola. 



(d) Valve 

The value of the Agricola hardly lies on the sur- 
face. It has necessaril}' had something of the same 
interest for Englishmen and Scotchmen which the 
Germania has for Germany. Yet we do not owe 
much directly to Tacitus : not only was he — as 
Mommsen has complained — the most unmilitary of 
historians, so that none of his battles are intelligible, 
but his topography — our topography — is even more 
careless and perfunctory : many of his places are so 
named that they cannot be identified, but merely 
furnish matter for the controversies of archaeologists 
like Monkb;irns, in The Antiquary (ch. 4). 

Whether Agricola marched to the isthmus between 
the Clyde and Forth via the east coast of England and 
Scotland, or via Chester and Morecambe Bay and 
Carlisle, is left quite uncertain : his ideas of the 
geographical relations of England, Ireland, and the 
Continent, especially Spain, are extraordinarily gro- 
tesque (see chs. 10 and 24), and show no advance on 
the Greek geographer Strabo, a century earlier : he 
recognises no isthmus south of the Clyde and Forth ; 
the Solway Firth, that is, is ignored ; and Ireland lies 
for him between Britain and Spain (see the same two 
chapters) : he knows more of trade-routes than of 

He is, in short, the rhetorician and humanist who 
hates maps — large or small — and geography : the 
biographical interest of the work entirely dominates 
the geographical, even the historical ; the political 
possibly dominates the biographical. 

It might be argued perhaps, however, that Irishmen 
have greater reason to bless Tacitus. He never makes 
it clear — he leaves it still open to doubt, even to those 



who are purely scientific, and have no sentimental 
inclination to welcome doubt — whether Agricola, 
before the Sassenach, ever planted sacrilegious feet 
upon those sacred shores. The German scholar 
Pfitzner (see Furneaux, p. 45) thinks that Agricola 
landed near Belfast. Furneaux and others think that 
an event so important from any point of view could 
not have been so obscurelv and perfunctorily hinted 
even by a Roman unqualified to appreciate its mag- 
nitude. Accordinglv thev think that the crucial 
words in ch. 24 refer only to a vovage across the 
Firth of Clvde to Bute and Argyllshire, and not 
across the North Channel to Irelai.d. This seems to 
me by far the safest and most natural translation. 
This list of Tacitus' geographical deficiencies could 
be easily extended : so far as Scotland, e.g., is con- 
cerned, almost the only places to be identified are 
Bodotria and Ciota, the Firths of Forth and Clyde. 
His other names — Mons Graupius, Portus Truccu- 
lensis, Boresti — remain mysteries. 

(e) T/ie Physical Geographical and Military Science of 
the " Agricola " 

(1) P/?j/.s7Cfl/ Science (Furneaux, note, p. 96). Tacitus' 
physics seem even more antiquated than his geo- 
graphv. The Greeks had discovered the spherical 
shape of this planet by the fourth century b.c. Romans 
like Cicero, Pliny, and Seneca had learned it from 
them; yet here is Tacitus (in ch. 12) apparently 
cleaving to the flat-earth heresy, and writing of the 
phenomenon of the midnight sun in words which imply 
no such knowledge and seem inconsistent therewith. 

(2) Geography. Tacitus' geography of Britain — it 
has been said already — is identical with Strabo's, and 


the hundred years between them have meant nothing 
to him — a measure of the superiority of Greek science 
over Roman. Its eccentricities are not fully illustrated 
by Mr. Furneaux in his map, and are a trifle mini- 
mised even by Professor Gudeman in the map pre- 
fixed to his German edition. The gist of it lies — as 
already noted — in chs. 1 and 24. 

To examine the point a little more minutely : 
oblongae scutiilae (ch. 10) is iu any case hardly recon- 
cilable with bipenni ; but I assume (see note 2, p. 185) 
that scutula — in spite of the authorities — here means 
scutulum, that is, an oblong shield tapering to a quasi- 
point in the north, where Caledonia begins, i.e. at the 
isthmus of the Clyde and Forth. If Britain, so far, is 
an oblong shield, where does the bipennis, or double- 
axe, come in ? Tacitus, in spite of his remarks 
about "ancient embroideries" and "his own plain 
tale of facts" (ch. 10), is not easy to folloAv. 

But apparently his criticism of the double-axe 
theory amounts to this, that the further, or northern, 
axe (Caledonia) is rather an inverted than a normal 
axe ; for its apex, instead of starting from the apex 
of the first axe, is at the northern extremity of Scot- 
land ; that is, a second axe follows the first in exactly 
the same position as the first, instead of inversely. 
The normal double-axe is two axes in inverse relation 
to each other, thus : 

Britannia proper 

But South Britain and Caledonia are instead two 



axes identically rej)eatin;:^ each other, in this form 
rather : 

Britannia proper 

Besides, Tacitus' indifference to geography some- 
times leads to obscurities for which this indifference 
is only indirectly responsible ; that is to say, the 
ordinary ambiguities of language, which occur even 
in the most careful writers, produce an extra degree 
of obscurity in him, because there is no general 
accuracy and definiteness elsewhere by means of 
which we could correct them and fix the momen- 
tarily obscured meaning. Thus in ch. 38, at the 
end, the little word "proximo," for all its innocent 
appearance, is interpreted almost in terms of every 
point of the compass, as well as without reference 
to the compass; personally, I think the latter inter- 
pretation by far the most natural (see Appendix iv. 
p. 344, for a fuller discussion of details). 

But, after all, Tacitus' lax geography perhaps de- 
serves some measure of gratitude from us ; it has 
helped to inspire Sir Walter Scott : it plays a part 
in The Antiquary. Mr. Jonathan Oldbuck thinks he 
has discovered on his own estate the scene of Agri- 
cola's battle, and that he can see from his own fields 
where the Roman fleet lay at anchor. His property 
is north of the Firths of Tay and Forth, in Forfarshire ; 
but so vague is Tacitus that other antiquaries — 
not merely in Scotland but down to the southern 
extremity of England — may claim for their properties 
a remote historical connection with Agricola's battle. 


The author of the article on Portus Truccidensis in 
Smith's Dictionary of Classical Geography, following 
Lipsius, boldly states that the name is a mistake of 
Tacitus', and that the harbour he means (Agricola, 
ch. 38) is Portus Rutupensis, or Sandwich, in Kent. If 
this theory be preposterous, it is not because Tacitus 
was incapable of murdering geographical names, but 
rather because the whole tenor of his narrative points 
to the wintering of the fleet in the north, beyond 
the Firth of Forth, not very far off from the scene of 
the battle. 

There is one further point about this harbour of 
romance, Portus Trucculensis, on which I have not 
succeeded in finding light. The Antiquarij (ch. 9) 
presents its hero claiming for his estate not merely 
that it was the site of Agricola's battle,*l)ut that it was 
also the site of the Abbey of Trot-cosey. Where 
did Scott get the name, and what is its significance .'' 
Its likeness to Trucculensis, though not very near, 
seems near enough to warrant the suggestion that the 
Abbey as well as the praetorium had its origin in some 
hazy memory of, or careless reference to, the Agricola. 
But if he did get the name, consciously or uncon- 
sciously, from the Agricola, he has, of course, slipped 
into an historical blunder. The Agricola makes it 
plain that the harbour, Portus Trucculensis — to which 
the fleet ultimately returned after the battle — and 
the site of the battle were some days' march distant 
from one anothei-, the latter being further north ; 
but the oversight would be venial in a novelist, and 
the story would gain in point ; and Monkbarns' pride 
in his historic estate would be the more legitimate. 

Tacitus, in short, is a good author for any one to 
exploit who desires to illustrate the weakness of an 
education in the humanities alone, without science ; 



his taste for ethics, satire, politics, and rhetoric re- 
duces physics and physical geographv lor him to 
tedious irrelevancies not worth comprehension. The 
modern classical scholar who knows only 1 acitus— if 
any such strange creature still lingers stranded some- 
where in some oasis or ancient university — is at least 
as well-equipped as his master. 

(3) Military Science. Tacitus' inaccuracies in 
physics and geography are paralleled — as might be 
expected — in his battle pictures. The battles of most 
historians, no doubt, are unintelligible to the layman 
often, not seldom to the writer himself, and almost 
always to the soldier ; but the defeat of the British 
by Agricola (chs. 36 and 37) exceeds the measure 
of obscurity usually found in these very technical 
matters. Much of it, as the notes of the com- 
mentators show, seems to be bodily lifted from Sal- 
lust, his historical model, rather tiian learned from 

Further, whether as a cause or consequence of 
Tacitus' militar}' vagueness, the text itself here breaks 
down ; and I do not for a moment ))rofess that the 
translation offered represents what Tacitus intended 
to represent. I have confined myself to taking the text 
and the various reconstructions of it, and attempting 
to evolve a single consistent and conceivable picture. 

(f) On translating Tacitus 

The difficulties of a translator of Tacitus are not few: 

Tacitus condenses to a degree so great that a literal 

English translation in the same number of words is 

almost unintelligible ; and his condensations not 

merely obscure but sometimes distort his meaning. 

A smaller perhaps, but a more interesting, difficulty 


lies in the mannerisms of the author. The problem 
arises at once : Is a translator to reproduce the 
maunei-isms ? E.g. eh. 13 (also 12^ 21, and many 
others) ends in an epigram, for the sake of which — 
the suspicion will arise — the chapter was written : 
or, more reasonably, by means of which its dulhiess 
was to the writer's mind redeemed : "Jiat epigramma 
pereatit res " is Tacitus' impulse. Is not the trans-, 
lator then bound, whenever such an epigram admits, 
as here, alternative renderings, to choose that one 
which is most French and most epigrammatic .'' 
I have assumed as much. 

A further mannerism is an old classical idiom 
extended : Tacitus is sometimes not content with 
hendiadys, but substitutes a variety of his own : or 
hendiatris Iv ha rpiuiy. In ch. 18 the difficult words 
qui claxsem qui 7iaves qui mare exspeclabant seem 
simply to mean " who expected fleets of ships upon 
the sea " : it is an ingenious and stimulating variation 
of an old tune. 

Ch. 22 ends with a mannerism and rhetorical 
device not so difficult to follow : " alliteration's artful 
aid." Tacitus is prone to tickle the ears of Romans 
with it : as a simple and cheap device it is easy of 
imitation : ojf'endere quavi odisse (ch. 22) jjasses 
naturally and smoothly into " to hurt than to hate." 
Ch. 42 has a more interesting example : Tacitus 
wishes to say that " Agricola made no fatuous parade 
of independence to challenge public attention and 
provoke his doom " : he prefers to express the idea by 
means of alliteration and zeugma combined : neque 
incmi iactatione liberlatis famam fatumque provocabut. 

In short, to sum up not merely the mannerisms of 
Tacitus, but also the salient characteristics of this 
book, the Agricola is largely a piece of rhetoric, 



brilliant with purple passages, with sarcasm and 
epigram, with verbal quips and cranks. 

It" I confess that I selected it for translation for 
these passages' sake, for the sake of chs. 45 and 46 
or chs. .SO and 32, I hasten to add in self-defence 
that I conceive Tacitus to have written it largely for 
the same chapters' sake. 

But, after all, the book has the same interest as the 
diary of a British subaltern, or commanding officer, 
quartered at Loralai or some similar place on the 
Beloochistan frontier. The parallelism between 
Roman provincial government and the British 
administration of India, always so vivid and so 
poignant, runs through the Agricola, and is as fresh 
and real in this biography of a shrewd and sterling 
Roman officer as in the biography of a Nicholson or 
a Lawrence. 

There is, finally, a general picturesqueness and 
certain phosphorescence, so to speak, in all Tacitus 
writes, as on some nights there is a general phos- 
phorescence on the Lower St. Lawrence ; but the 
writing becomes much more brilliantwhen the writer 
is ti'aversing a congenial theme, even as the phos- 
phorescence on the river is tenfold around the path 
of an ocean liner. Perhaps it may occur to some 
readers that the treatment by Tacitus of a congenial 
theme is not unlike — in some other respects — the 
transit of a liner through phosphorescence : thei'e is 
brilliance everywhere and blare and the band is 
playing, but in the background lurk sinister forms 
and the masked figure of Tragedy. 

M. H. 

Metis Beach, Province of Quebec 


Cornelii Taciti Germania Agricola Dialogus de Oratori- 
bus quarlum recognovit Carolus Halm. Leipsic, 

Cornelii Taciti Vila Agricolae. Edited, with intro- 
duction and notes and map, by Henry Furneaux. 
Clarendon Press, 189B. 

The text on which this translation is based 
in almost every case where it deviates from the 
Teubner text of Halm. 


Tacitus : Agricola and Gerrnania. With introduction 
and notes by Alfred Gudeman. Boston : Allen »& 
Bacon, 1900. 

P. Corneli Taciti de vita et moribus Cn. Jul. Agricolae 
liber, Erkliirt von Alfred Gudeman. Berlin, 

The Agricola and Germania of Tacitus. A revised 
text, English notes and maps, by Alfred J. Church 
and W. J. Brodribb. London : Macmillan & Co., 

The Agricola of Tacitus. Edited, with introduction 
and notes, by J. \\ . Pearce. London : George 
Bell & Sons, 1901. 

L 161 



The Agricola and Germunia of Tacitus. Translated into 
English, with notes and maps, by Alfred John 
Church and William Jackson Brodribb. London : 
Macmillan & Co., 1899. 

The Agricola of Tacilus. A translation. London : 
Kegan Paul, Trench, & Co., 1885. 

I learned early not to look at this version 
beforehand, and when I looked at it to repent of 
my own. I may say something of the same sort, 
if not so emphatically, of the better known but 
less vivid translation of Church and Brodribb. 

Finally, I regret that when I made this trans- 
lation I liad not yet seen the vigorous version of 
Mr. Hamilton Fyfe, my "consocius" ofMerton 

Tacile. Gaston Boissier. Paris : Hachette, 1903. 



See Professor Gudeman's Edition 

A.D. .^i circa. Birth : his father was probably an 
Imperial Agent in Belgium and of 
equestrian rank. 
73 „ Pupil of Quintilian. 
74-75 „ Studied law under Aper and Secundus. 
77-78 „ Married Agricola's daughter. 
79-81 „ Published the Dialogus de Oratoribus ; 
beeame quaestor. 
88 Became praetor. 

89-93 Absent from Rome, probably as pro- 

praetor (or governor) of a minor 

97 Consul. 

98 Publication of the Agricola and Ger- 

100 Accused Marius Priscus, a noted in- 

105-109 Publication of the Histories. 

112 Proconsul of Asia. 

1 16 Publication of Annals. 

117 Death. 



B.C. 55 {see p. 1 9.'5). Invaded by Julius Caesar, and intro- 
duced by him to Roman history (cli. 13). 
54. Invaded a second time by Caesar. 
B.C. 50-A.D. 37. Overlooked by Rome during civil wars 
and the cautious administration of Augus- 
tus and Tiberius (ch. 13). 
\ D 40. Caligula jilaiis invasion, but draws back (ch. 
43. Claudius sends Vespasian with an army into 
the island and conquers it (ch. 13). 
4,3_47. Governed by Aulus Plautius : the southern 
part of the island begins to take shape as 
a Roman province (ch. 14); a Roman 
colony ])lanted at Colchester. 
47-52. Governed by Ostorius Scapula (ch. 14). 
52-58. Governed by Didius Gallus, who pushes the 
Roman frontier a little farther north- 
wards (ch. 14). 
58. Governed by Veranius for a few months 
(ch. 14). 
59-62. Go\erned by Suetonius Paulinus and so far 
reduced to order that the Roman 
governor crosses over to Mona (Anglesey) 
to crush the remains of disaffection 
(ch. 14). 
6l. rhe natives, taking advantage of Paulinus' 
absence, rise under Boadicea and burn 
Colchester, but are immediately defeated 
and reduced : Agricola sees his first 
service in the Roman army (chs. 5 and l6). 


A.D. 62. Petronius Turpilianus succeeds Paulinus and 
introduces a milder policy (ch. I6). 
65. Petronius hands over the government to 
Trebellius Maximus, who continues the 
indulgent system of government of his 
predecessor : Roman civilisation and 
Roman vices begin to spread among the 
natives (ch. I6). 
69- Governed by Vettius Bolanus (chs. 7 and I6) 
with similar laxity. Agricola serves under 
him in charge of the Twentieth Legion. 

71-75. Governed by Petilius Cerialis with great 
vigour and success : he invades the 
territory of the Brigantes (Lancashire 
and north-western counties of England) 
and reduces the greater part of their 
land (chs. 8 and 17). 

75-77. Governed by Julius Frontinus with equal 
energy : he conquers South Wales^ the 
territory of the Silures (ch. 17). 

78-85. Governed by Agricola : battle of Mount 
Graupius, by which the southern part of 
Caledonia (Scotland north of the Firths 
of Clyde and Forth) is conquered and 
the Roman province carried beyond the 
block-houses of the isthmus between 
Clota and Bodotria. The Roman fleet 
also sails round the north coast of 
Scotland, discovers the Orkney and 
Shetland Isles, and proves the insularity 
of Britain. Three ships of deserters, 
belonging to the Usipi in Germany, 
breaking loose from the Roman fleet, also 
circumnavigate Britain in their wander- 
ings (chs. 28 and 36-38). 



Sec Professor Giidefiuiii's Edition 

A.D. 40. Birth : his father was a Roman Senator of 
Gallic origin, the grandfather having been 
an Imperial Agent and an eques. His 
maternal grandfather was also an Imperial 
Agent of the same rank in the same place. 
58. First service in Britain (ch. 5). 
6l. Man'iage (ch. 6). 

6S. Quaestorship ; birth and death of son (ch. 6). 
64. Birth of daughter (ch. 6). 
QQ. Tribunate. 
67. Praetorship. 

6,9. Murder of his mother in the Year of Terror. 
Command of a legion (the 20th) in Britain 
(ch. 7). 
73. Patriciate (ch. 9). 
74-7(i. Propraetor of Aquitaine (ch. 9). 

77. Consulate (ch. 9)- 
77-78. Appointment to governorship of Britain (ch.. 9). 

80. Agricola advances as far as the estuary of the 

Tanaus (ch. 22). 

81. Agricola establishes Roman rule from the 

Clyde to the Forth (Clota to Bodotria) by 
block-houses across the peninsula (ch. 23). 

82. Agricola threatens Ireland (ch. 24). 

83. Agricola advances from the peniusida north- 

wards into Caledonia (ch. 25). 

84. Death of son : battle of Mount Graupius (ch. 

29-ch. S9). 

85. Recall to Rome (ch. 40). 

91. Declines proconsular province (ch. 42). 
93. Death (ch. 43). 






1 Clarorvm virorum facta moresque posteris tradere, 
antiquitus usitatum^ ne nostris quidem tem])oribus 
quamquam incuriosa suorum aetas omisit^ quotiens 
magna aliqua ac nobilis virtus vicit ac supergressa est 
vitium parvis niagnisque civitatibus commune, igno- 
rantiam recti et invidiam, sed apud priores ut agere 
digna memoratu pronum magisque in aperto erat, ita 
celeberrimus quisque ingenio ad prodendam virtutis 
memoriam sine gratia aut ambitione bonae tantum 
conscientiae pretio ducebatur. ac plerique suam ipsi 
vitam narrare fiduciam })otius morum quam adrogan- 
tiam arbitrati sunt, nee id Rutilio et Scaui'o citra 
fidem aut obtrectationi fuit : adeo virtutes isdem 




To hand down to posterity the works and ways 
of famous men was our fathers' custom : our age has 
not yet abandoned it even now, indifferent though it 
be to its own children, whenever, at least, some 
great and notable virtue has dominated and over- 
powered the vice common alike to small states and 
great — misapprehension of integrity and jealousy. 

But in our fathers' times, just as the doing of deeds 
worth recording was natural and more obvious, so 
also there was inducement then to the brightest 
spirits to publish such records of virtue. Partisan- 
ship was not the motive or ambition : a good con- 
science was its own reward ; nay, many men even 
counted it not presumption, but self-respect, to narrate 
their own lives. A Rutilius, a Scaurus, could do so 
without falling short of belief ^ or provoking a 

^ This is the Latin idiom ; but the meaniDg would be con- 
veyed more naturally to our idiom by the converse metaphor 
"without overdrawing his credit" : ultra jidem instead of 


temporibus optinie aestimantur, quibus facillime gig- 
nuntur. at nunc narraturo mihi vitam defuncti homi- 
nis venia o])iis fuit, quani non petisseni incusaturus, 
tani saeva et infesta virtutibus tempora. 

2 Legimus, cum Aruleno Rustico Paetus Thrasea, 
Senecioni Herennio ^ Priscus H elvidius laudati essent, 
capitale fuisse, neque in ipsos modo auctores, sed in 
libros quoque eoi'uni saevitum, delegate triumviris 
ministerio ut monumenta clarissimorum ingeniorum 
in comitio ac foro urerentur. scilicet illo igne voceni 
populi Romani et libertatem senatus et conscientiam 
generis humani aboleri arbitrabantur, expulsis insuper 
sapientiae professoribus atque omni bona arte in 
exilium acta, ne quid usquam honestum occurreret. 
dedimus profecto grande patientiae documentum ; et 
sicut vetus aetiis vidit quid ultimum in libertate esset, 
ita nos quid in servitute, adempto per inquisitiones 
etiam loquendi audiendique coramercio. memoriam 
quoque ipsam cum voce perdidissemus, si tarn in 
nostra potestate esset oblivisci quam tacere. 

3 Nunc demum red it animus ; set quamquam })rimo 
statim beatissimi saeculi ortu Xerva Caesar res 

1 Herennio Senecioni, MSS., F.,H. Vide Appendix I. 


sneer ; so true is it that virtues are best appreciated 
in those ages which most readily give them birth ; 
but to-day, even though the man whose Hfe I am 
about to write isah'eady gone, I ought to have craved 
an indulgence which I should not have needed, had 
invective been ray purpose ; so harsh is the sj)irit of 
our age, so cynical towards virtue. 

It is recorded that when Rusticus Arulenus ^ 
extolled Thrasea Paetus, when Herennius Senecio 
extolled Helvidius Priscus, their praise became a 
capital offence, so that persecution fell not merely 
on the authors themselves but on the very books : to 
the public hangman, in fact, was given the task of 
burning in the courtyard of the Forum the memorials 
of our noblest characters. 

They imagined, no doubt, that in those flames dis- 
appeared the voice of the people, the liberty of the 
Senate, the conscience of mankind ; especially as the 
votaries of Philosophy also were expelled, and all 
liberal culture exiled, in order that nowhere might 
anything of good report present itself to men's eyes. 

Assuredly we have furnisheil a signal proof of our 
submissiveness ; and even as foi-mer generations wit- 
nessed the utmost excesses of liberty, so have we the 
extremes of slavery; wherein our "Inquisitors"^ 
have deprived us even of the give and take of con- 
versation. We should have lost memory itself as well 
as voice, had forgetfulness been as easy as silence. 

Now at last heart is coming back to us : from the 
first, from the very outset of this happy age, Nerva 

^ T;icitus transposes the prapnomen (or 7iojncn) and the 
eognomen in these cases, as also in ch. -i'y; vide Appendix I. 
p. 33.5. 

2 The delatores, informers, who reported to Domitian all 
slighting references real or imagined. 



olim dissociabiles miscuerit, principatum ac liber- 
tatem, augeatque quotidie felicitatem temporum 
Nerva Traianus, nee spem modo ac votuni securitas 
])ublica, sed ipsius voti fiduciaiii ac robur ad- 
sumpserit, natura tamen infirmitatis humanae 
tardiora sunt remedia quam mala ; et ut corpora 
nostra lente augescunt, cito extinguuntur, sic ingenia 
studiaqueoppvesseris facilius quam revocaveris : subit 
quippe etiam ipsius inertiae dulcedo^ et invisa primo 
desidia postremo amatur. quid ? si per quindecim 
annoSj grande mortalis aevi spatium, multi foi'tuitis 
casibus, promptissimus quisque saevitia principis 
intercidenintj pauci^ ut ita dixerim, non modo aliorum 
sed etiam nostri superstites sumus^ exemptis e media 
vita tot annis, quibus iuvenes ad senectutem^ senes 
prope ad ipsos exactae aetatis terminos per silentium 
venimus. non tamen pigebit vel incondita ac rudi 
voce memoriam prioris servitutis ac testimonium 
praesentium bonorum composuisse. hie interim liber 
honori Agricolae soceri mei destinatus^ professione 
pietatis aut laudatus erit aut excusatus. 
4 Gnaeus lulius Agricola, vetere et inlustri Foroiu- 
liensium colonia ortus, utrumque avum procuratorem 
Caesarum habuit, quae equestris nobilitas est. pater 


has united things long incompatible, Empire and 
liberty; Trajan is increasing daily the happiness of 
the times ; and public confidence has not merely 
learned to hope and pray, but has received security for 
the fulfilment of its prayers and even the substance 
thereof. Though it is true that from the nature of 
human frailty cure operates more slowly than disease, 
and as the body itself is slow to grow and quick to 
decay, so also it is easier to damp men's spirits and 
their enthusiasm than to revive them : nay, listlessness 
itself has a certain subtle charm, and the languor we 
hate at first we learn to love : what else were 
possible? For the term of fifteen years, a large space 
in human life, cliance and change have been cutting 
off many among us ; others, and the most energetic, 
have perished by the Emperor's ferocity ; while the 
few who remain have outlived not merely their 
neighbours but, so to say, themselves ; for out of 
their prime have been blotted fifteen years, during 
which mature men reached old age and old men the 
very bounds almost of decrepitude, and all without 
opening their lips. 

But after all I shall not regret the task of 
recording our former slavery and testifying to our 
present blessings, albeit with unpractised and stam- 
mering tongue. As an instalment of that work ^ this 
book is dedicated to the vindication of my father-in- 
law Agricola : its j)lea of filial duty Mill commend or, 
at least, excuse it. 

Gnaeus Julius Agricola was a scion of the ancient 
and illustrious Roman colony of Forum Julii : each 
of his grandfathers was " Procurator of Caesar," an 

1 The Agricola is not merely the work of Tacitus' prentice 
hand, but is also an instalment towards his Histories and 
A nncds. 



illi lulius Graecinus senatorii ordiiiis, studio elo- 
quentiae sapientiaeque notus, iisque ipsis virtutibus 
irani Gai Caesaris meritus : namque M. Silanurn 
accusare iussus et, quia abnuerat, interfectus est. 
mater lulia Procilla fuit, rarae castitatis. in huius 
siiiii iiidulgentiaque educatus per omnem honestaruni 
artiuin cultum pueritiam adulescentiaraque transegit. 
arcebat eum ab inlecebris peccantium praeter ipsius 
bonam integramque naturam, quod statim parvulus 
sedem ac ma^istrani studioruin Massiliam habuit, 
locum Graeca comitate et provinciali parsimoiiia 
mixtum ae bene composituni. niemoria teneo solitum 
ipsum narrare se prima in iuventa studium philo- 
sophiae acrius, ultra quam concessum Romano ac 
senatori, hausisse, ni jnuidentia matris iiicensuin ac 
flagrantem animum coercuisset. scilicet sublime et 
erectum ingenium pulchritudinem ac speciem mag- 
nae excelsaeque gloriae vehementius quam caute 
adpetebat. mox mitigavit ratio et aetas, retinuitque, 
quod est ditficillimumj ex sapientia modum. 
5 Prima castroruiii riidimenta in Britannia Suetonio 
Paulino, diligenti ac moderate duci-,adprobavitj electus 
quem contubernio aestimaret. nee Agricola licenter, 
more iuvenum, qui militiam in lasciviam vertunt, 


office which involves the superior order of knight- 
hood. His father, JuHus Graecinus, reached the rank 
of Senator and was noted for his interest in rhetoric 
and philosophy : the same virtues earned for him the 
hatred of Gains Caesar ; in fact, he received orders 
to accuse Marcus Silanus, and, refusing, was put to 
death. His mother was Julia Procilla, a woman of 
rare virtue. From her fond bosom he imbibed his 
education : his boyhood and youth lie passed in the 
pursuit of all liberal accomplishments ; he Avas 
shielded from the snares of sinners not merely by 
his own loyal and upright nature but because from 
the outset of his childhood the habitation and the 
alma mater of his studies was Massilia, a blend 
and hap])y combination of Greek refinement and 
provincial simplicity. 1 remember how he used 
himself to tell that in earlj^ life he was inclined to 
drink more deeply of philosophy than is permitted to 
a Roman Senator,"^ had not his mother's discretion 
imposed a check upon his enkindled and glowing 
imagination : no doubt his soaring and ambitious 
temper craved the pomp and circumstance of high and 
exalted ideals with more ardour than prudence. Soon 
came reason and years to cool his blood : he achieved 
the rarest of feats ; he was a student, yet preserved 
his balance. 

His apprenticeship to war was in Britain, where 
he commended himself to Suetonius Paulinus, a care- 
ful and sound general, being, in fact, selected by him 
for the test involved in the sharing of military quarters. 
Agricola was neither casual, after the manner of young 
men who turn soldiering into foolishness, nor yet 

1- The Roman noble was not wholly unworthy of those later 
aristocrats of vvhom their leader said : " They speak but one 
language, and never open a book." 


neque segniter ad voluptates et commeatus titulum 
tribunatus et inscitiam rettulit : sed noscere provin- 
ciam, nosci exercitui^ discere a peritis, sequi optimos, 
nihil adpetere in iactationem, nihil ob formidinem 
recusare simulque et anxius et intentus agere. non 
sane alias exercitatior magisque in ambiguo Britannia 
fuit : trucidati veterani, incensae coloniae, intercepti 
exercitus ; turn de salute^ mox de victoria eertavere. 
quae cuncta etsi consiliis ductuque alterius agebantur 
ac sunima rerum et reciperatae provinciae gloria in 
ducem cessit, artem et usum et stimulos addidere 
iuveni, intravitque animuni militaris gloriae cupido, 
ingrata temporibus, quibus sinistra erga eminentes 
interpretatio nee minus periculum ex magna fama 
quam ex mala. 
" Hinc ad capessendos magistratus in urbem digres- 
sus Domitiam Decidianam^ splendidis natalibus ortam, 
sibi iunxit ; idque matrimonium ad maiora nitenti 
decus ac robur fuit. vixeruntque mira concordia, per 
mutuam caritatem et in vicem se anteponendo^ nisi 
quod in bona uxore tanto maior laus, quanto in mala 
plus culpae est. sors quaesturae provinciam Asiam, 
pro consule Salvium Titiaiium dedit^ quorum neutro 

corruptus est, quamquam et provincia dives ac parata 


indolent. He did not trade upon his tribune's com- 
mission and his inexj)erience to get pleasures and 
fm'loughs ; rather he proceeded to know the province, 
and to make himself known to the army, to learn 
from the experts, to follow the best men, to asjiire to 
nothing in bravado, yet to shrink from nothing in 
fear, to behave as one at once anxious and yet eager. 
Certainly at no time was Britain more agitated, nor 
its fate more critical : veterans were butchered, 
Roman colonies burned,^ armies cut off fi-om their 
base ; one day men fought for their lives and on the 
next day for triumph — all of which things, though 
the strategy and generalship which handled them 
were another's, and though the supreme glory o 
achievement and of recovering the province fell to 
the general, jet furnished science, ex])erieiice, and 
incentives to the subaltern. There entered his heart 
a desire for that military distinction which was 
unwelcome to an age which cast an evil eye over 
eminence, wherein good report was as perilous as 

From this field he passed on to the city to take up 
office ; there also he married Domitia Decidiana, 
a woman of high lineage. The marriage proved 
at once a distinction and a strength to him in his 
upward path ; their life was singularly harmonious, 
thanks to mutual affection and alternate self-sacrifice ; 
though, indeed, a good wife has the greater glory in 
proportion as a bad wife is the more to blame. 

The allotment of quaestorships brought him Asia 
for his province, and Salvius Titianus for his pro- 
consul ; neither corrupted him; yet the province was 

1 Probably Camxdodunum (Colchester) is meant. Other 
colonies existing at this time, or not long after, were Glevum 
(Gloucester), Lindum (Lincoln), and Eboracum (York). 

M 177 


peccantibus, et pro consule in omnem aviditatem 

pronus quantalibet facilitate redempturus esset mu- 

tiiam dissimulationem mali. auctus est ibi filia, in sub- 

sidium simul et solaciiim ; nam filium ante sublatum 

brevi amisit. niox inter quaesturam ac tribunatum 

plebis atque ipsum etiam tribunatus annum quiete et 

otio transiit, gnarus sub Nerone temporum, quibus 

inertia pro sapientia fuit. idem praeturae tenor et si- 

lentium ; nee enim iurisdictio obvenerat. ludos etin- 

ania honoris medio rationis atque abundantiae duxit, 

uti longe a luxuria, ita famae propior. tum electus a 

Galba ad dona templorum recoij'noscenda diligentis- 

sima conquisitione effecit, ne cuius alterius sacrilegium 

res publica quam Neronis sensisset, 

7 Sequens annus gravi vulnere animum domumque 

eius adflixit. nam classis Othoniana licenter vaga 

dum Intimilium (Liguriae pars est) hostiliter popu- 

latur, matrem Agricolae in praediis siiis interfecit, 

praediaque ipsa et magnam patrimonii partem diri- 

puit, quae causa caedis fuerat. igitur ad sollemnia 

pietatis profectus Agricola, nuntio adfectati a Ves- 

pasiano imperii deprehensus ac statim in partes 

transgressus est. initia principatus ac statum urbis 

Mucianus regebat, iuvene admodum Domitiano et 

ex paterna fortuna tantum licentiam usurpante. is 

1 Sublatum is technical. The fatlier by taking up the new- 
born child acknowledges it as his own. 



rich and an easy pi"ey to tlie unscrupulous, and the 
proconsul, ready for every kind of rapacity, was pre- 
pared to show any and every indulgence in order to 
purchase mutual silence about wrongdoing. Here his 
family was increased by a daughtei', to his advantage 
at once and his consolation, for the son he had already 
carried in his arms he had soon lost.^ 

After this he passed in quiet and retirement the 
year intervening before his tribunate of the plebs, 
and not less the actual year of office. He read aright 
the reign of Nero, wherein to be passive was to be 
wise. His praetorship followed the same peaceful 
tenor; in fact, no administrative duties had fallen to 
his lot. As for the official games and the other vanities 
of office, in keeping them he kept a mean between 
cold reason and lavishness ; on the one side he was 
far from extravagant, but at the same time fairly 
mindful of public opinion. Next, having been chosen 
by Galba to investigate the fate of gifts made to 
temples, his diligent inquiries brought it about that 
the state ceased at once to be conscious of having 
suffered from any second malefactor besides Nero. 

The following year dealt a heavy blow to his 
peace of mind and to his home. For Otho's sailors, 
roaming at large with hostile intent, while gathering 
loot from Intimilium in Liguria, murdered Agricola's 
mother on her own estate, and plundered the estate 
itself and a large portion of his inheritance : whence 
the murder. Agricola, after starting to render the 
customary dues of filial affection, was overtaken by 
the news that Vespasian was in the field, and imme- 
diately passed over to his side. 

The first steps of the new reign and the attitude of 
the city were directed by Mucianus, Domitian being 
still veryyoung and snatching fromhis father's position 


missum ad dilectus agendos Agricolam integreque 
ac strenue versatum vicensimae legioni tarde ad 
sacramentum transgressae praeposuit, ubi decessor 
seditiose agere narrabatur : quippe legatis quoque 
consularibus nimia ac formidolosa erat, nee legatus 
praetorius ad cohibendum potens, incertum suo an 
militum ingenio. ita successor simul et ultor electus 
rarissima moderatione maluit videri invenisse bonos 
■ quam fecisse. 

8 Praeerat tunc Britanniae Vettius Bolanus, pla- 
cidius quam feroci provinciadignum est. temperavit 
Agricola vim suam ardoremque compescuit, ne in- 
cresceret, peritus obsequi eruditusque utilia honestis 
miscere. brevi deinde Britannia consularem Petilium 
Cerialem accepit. habuerunt virtutes spatium exem- 
plorum^ sed primo Cerialis labores modo et discrimina, 
mox et gloriam communicabat : saepe parti exercitus 
in experimentum^ aliquando maioribus copiis ex 
eventu praefecit. nee Agricola umquam in suam 
famam gestis exsultavit : ad auctorem ac ducem ut 
minister fortunam referebat. ita virtute in obse- 
quendo, verecundia in praedieando extra invidiam 
nee extra gloriam erat. 

9 Revertentem ab legatione legionis divus Ves- 
pasianus inter patriciosadscivit ; ac deinde provinciae 


only impunity to riot. Mucianus sent Agricola to levy 
soldiers, and when he had displayed both loyalty and 
energy he gave him the command ot the Twentieth 
Legion, which had tardily transferred its allegiance. 
His predecessor, it was said, had been conducting 
himself mutinously. As a matter of fact, the legion 
had been too much even for consular governors, and 
had been a source of alarm ; consequently, a mere 
regimental officer had no effective control. Whether 
this was due to his own or to his soldiers' character 
may be left open. Agricola accordingly was appointed 
to succeed and punish this officer ; by his singular 
tact he made it appear that he had found the men 
loyal instead of making them so. 

Vettius Bolanus was then in charge of Britain : 
his rule was milder than a high-spirited province 
requires. Agricola accordingly restrained his own 
energy and applied a check to his enthusiasm, in 
order that it might not grow too strong; he was trained 
to habits of deference, and skilful in tempering duty 
with expediency. A short time elapsed, and then 
Britain received Petilius Cerialis as its governor ; and 
now Agricola's virtues found ample scope for display; 
but for the moment Cerialis gave him a share only 
of work and danger. Afterwards he shared distinc- 
tion also : he often gave him a part of the army to 
command, to test him ; sometimes on the strength 
of the issue he increased his forces ; but Agricola 
never used his pride of achievement to his own credit. 
He traced his success to the responsible general 
whose agent he was : so by scrupulous obedience 
and modesty in self-advertisement he escaped envy 
without missing distinction. 

When he returned from the command of his legion 
Vespasian of happy memory eni'olled him a patrician 


Aquitaniae praeposuit, splendidae inprimis dignitatis 
admiiiistratione ac spe consulatus^ cui destinarat. 

Creduiit plerique militaribus ingeniis subtilitatem 
deesse, quia castrensis iurisdictio secura et obtusior 
ac plura manu agens calliditatem fori non exerceat. 
Agricola naturali prudentia, quamvis inter togatos^ 
facile iusteque agebat. iam vero tempora curarum 
remissionumque divisa : ubi conventusac iudicia pos- 
cerent, gravis intentus severus, et saepius misericors : 
ubi officio satis factum^ nulla ultra potestatis persona; 
tristitiam et adrogantiam et avaritiam exuerat. nee 
illi, quod est rarissimunij aut facilitas auctoritatem 
aut severitas amorem deminuit. integritatena atque 
abstinentiam in tanto viro referre iniuria virtutum 
fuerit. ne famam quidem, cui saepe etiam boni in- 
dulgent, ostentanda virtute aut per artem quaesivit : 
procul ab aemulatione adversus collegas, procul a 
eontentione adversus procuratores et vincere in- 
glorium et atteri sordidum arbitrabatur. minus 
triennium in ea legatione detentus ac statimad spam 
consulatus revocatus est, coniitante opinione Britan- 
niam ei provinciam dari, nullis in hoc suis sermoni- 
bus, sed quia par videbalur. baud semper errat 

and then placed him in charge of the province of 
Aquitania, a post of signal distinction both from the 
functions involved therein, and from the promise of 
the consulship to which it pointed. 

The world imagines that the soldier lacks astute- 
ness because he governs his camp with a light 
heart and a certain blunt high-handedness, and 
does not develop, the cunning of the lawyer. 
Agricola, thanks to his native shrewdness, though 
surrounf/ed with civilians, administered without 
friction, yet without sacrifice of justice. Further, 
the distinctions of office-hours and off-duty were 
carefully observed. When the decisions of the 
council-chamber demanded he was serious, keen, 
strict, yet generally merciful ; when he had fulfilled 
the demands of office he dropped the official mask : 
reserve, pompousness, and greed he put away from 
him ; and vet in his case, the rarest of cases, neither 
did amiability impair authority nor strictness affec- 
tion. It would be an insult to the qualities of a man 
so great to dvvell here upon his probity and self- 
control. Fame itself, which even good men often 
court, he never sought by parading his virtues or 
by artifice; incapable of rivalry among his colleagues, 
incapable of wrangling with the Imperial Agents, he 
counted it inglorious to succeed in such fields, and 
contemptible to let himself feel sore. 

He was detained for less than three yeai*s in 
Aquitania to govern it, and was then recalled with 
the immediate prospect of the consulship. There 
accompanied his recall the rumour that Britain was 
being ofl'ered to him for his province, not because 
any word from him contributed thereto, but simply 
because he was judged competent. Rumour is not 
always wi-ong ; sometimes it even chooses the winner. 


fama ; aliquando et elegit, consul egregiae turn spei 

filiam iuveni mihi despondit ac post consulatum collo- 
cavit, et statim Britanniae praepositus est, adiecto 
poiitificatus sacerdotio. 
10 Bi-itanniae situm ])opulosque multis scriptoribus 
menioratos non in comparationem curae ingeniive 
referam, sed quia tuni prinium perdomita est : ita 
quae priores nondum comperta eloquentia percoluere, 
rerum fide tradentur. Britannia, insularum quas 
Romana notitia complectitur maxima, spatio ac caelo 
in orientem Germaniae, in occidentem Hispaniae 
obtenditur, Gallis in meridiem etiam inspicitur ; 
septentrionalia eius, nullis contra terris, vasto atque 
aperto mari pulsantur. formam totius Britanniae 
Livius veterum, Fabius Rusticus recentium eloquent- 
issimi auctores oblongae scutulae vel bipenni adsimu- 
lavere. et est ea facies citra Caledoniam, unde et in 
universam fama; sed transgressis^ inmensum et 
enorme spatium procurrentium extremo iam litore 
1 f:una ; sed transgressis, F. ; fama est trausgressa, sed, II. 


The consul betrothed his daughter, already a gu-1 of 
great promise, to me, then in my youth. On the 
conclusion of his office he placed her hand in mine, 
and immediately afterwards was gazetted to Britain, 
the priestly office of pontiff" accompanying this pro- 

The geographical position of Britain and the races 
which inhabit it have been recorded by many writers : 
if I record them it is not to challenge comparison in 
the matter of accuracy or talent, but because it was 
Agricola who first thoroughly subdued it : accordingly, 
where earlier writers embroidered with rhetoric a 
theme still legendary, there will be found only a 
faithful narration of facts. 

Britain is the largest island known to Romans : 
in the matter of site and aspect it faces Germany 
on the east, Spain on the west ; ^ on the south 
it is actually within sight of Gaul; its northern 
shores alone have no lands confronting them, but 
are beaten by the wastes of open sea. Livy and 
Fabius Rusticus, the most graphic of ancient 
and modern writers respectively, have likened the 
shape of Britain as a whole to an oblong shield ^ 
or to a double-axe. This is in fact its shape up to 
the borders of Caledonia,^ whence also this idea has 
been extended to the whole ; but when you cross the 
border the land stretches out at once in boundless 
and vast extent from the actual neck, and only alter- 

1 Tide Introduction, p. 155. 

2 Scutula is generally distinguished from scutvlum, a 
shield, but its meaning is quite uncertain, and Tacitus' idea of 
Great Britain (up to the Clyde and Forth) comes sufliciently 
close to that of an oblong shield to let the translation pass 
for want of a better. 

3 Up to the isthmus of the Clyde and Forth. 



terrariim velut in cuiieuni tenuatur. hanc oram iiov- 
issimi maris tunc primum Romana classis circumvecta 
insulam esse Britanniam adfirmavitj ac simul incognitas 
ad id tempusinsulas, quas Orcadas vocant, invenit do- 
muitque. dispecta est et Thule^ quia hactenus iussum : 
et hiems adpetebat. sed mare pigrum et grave re- 
migantibus perhibent ne ventis quidem perinde at- 
toUi, credo quod rariores terrae montesquCj causa ac 
materia tempestatum, et })rofunda moles continui 
maris tardius inipellitur. naturam Oceuni atque aestus 
neque quaerere huius operis est^ ac multi rettulere : 
unum addiderim, nusquam latius dominari mare, mul- 
tum riuminum liuc atque illuc ferre, nee litore tenus 
adcrescere aut resorberi, sed influere penitus atque 
ambirCj et iugis etiam ac montibus inseri velut 
in suo. 
11 Ceterum Britanniam qui mortales initio coluerint, 
indigenae an advecti, ut inter barbaros parum com- 
pertum. habitus corporum varii atque ex eo argu- 
menta. nainque rutilae Caledoniam habitantium 
comae, magni artus Germanicam originem adseverant; 


wards tapers into the tapering end of a wedge. ^ 
It was only under Agricola that the Roman fleet for 
the first time rounded this coast, the coast of the 
uttermost sea, and pronounced the insularity of 
Britain : by the same voyage it discovered the islands 
called Orcades, up to that time unknown, and 
conquered them. The shores of Thule even were 
descried, their instructions taking them only so far : 
besides, winter was approaching : however, they 
brought the report that the sea was sluggish and 
heavy to the oar and comparative!}' torpid even to 
the wind — 1 presume because land and mountain, 
the cause and occasion of storms, are fewer and 
further between, and because the deep mass of 
uninterrupted water is slower to be set in motion. ^ 
The character and tides of the ocean it is beyond 
the function of this work to investigate, and many 
have recorded them. I would add but a single word, 
that nowhere has the sea more potent influence : it 
gives to many of the I'ivers a tidal character ; nor 
merely do the incoming tides wash the shores and 
ebb again, but penetrate the land deeply and invest 
it, and even steal into the heart of hills and moun- 
tains as though into their native element. 

Be this as it may, what race of mortal birth inha- 
bited Britain originally, whether native to the soil or 
later comers, is a question which, as one would expect 
among barbarous people, has never received atten- 
tion. The physique of the people presents many 
varieties, wiience inferences are drawn : the red hair 
and the large limbs of the inhabitants of Caledonia 
proclaim their German origin ; the swarthy faces of 

1 Vide Introduction, pp. 15.5-G. 

2 Vide Germania, ch. 45, for a similar jjicture of northern 



Silurum colorati vultus, torti plerumque crines et 
posita contra Hispania Hiberos veteres traiecisse 
easque sedes occupasse fidem faciunt; proximi Gallis 
et similes sunt^ seu durante originis vi, seu procur- 
rentibus in diversa terris positio caeli corporibus 
habitum dedit. in universum tamen aestimanti 
Gallos vicinam insulam occupasse credibile est. ^ 
eorum sacra deprehendas, su])erstitionum persua- 
siones ^ ; semio baud multum diversus, in deposcendis 
periculis eadem audacia et, ubi advenere, in detrec- 
tandis eadem formido. ])lus tamen ferociae Britanni 
praeferunt, ut quos nondum longa pax emollierit. 
nam Gallos quoque in bellis floruisse accepimus ; 
mox segiiitia cum otio intravit, araissa virtute pariter 
ac libertate. quod Britannorum olim victis evenit: 
ceteri manent quales Galli fuerunt. 

In pedite robur ; quaedam nationes et curru proe- 
liantur. honestior auriga, clientes propugnant. olim 
regibus parebant, nunc per principes factionibus et 
studiis distrahuntur. nee aliud adversus validissimas 
gentis pro nobis utilius quam quod in commune 
non consul unt. rarus duabus tribusve civitatibus ad 
propulsandum commune periculum conventus : ita 
singuli pugnant, universi vincuntur. caelum crebris 
1 persuasiones, P. ; persuasione, II. 

" The traces of Spanish blood in Cornwall, "Wale.s, and 
Ireland have been often noticed by historians and sometimes 
ascribed to tnuch later dates: even to the Armada, for instance. 



the Silures, the curly quality, in general, of their 
hair, and the position of Spain opposite their shores, 
attest the passage of Iberians in old days and the 
occupation by them of these districts ;'^ those peoples, 
again, who adjoin Gaul are also like Gauls, whether 
because the influence of heredity persists, or because 
when two lands converge till tiiey face each other 
the climatic condition stamps a certain physique on 
the human body ; but, taking a broad view of the case, 
we can readily believe that the Gauls took possession 
of the adjacent island. You will surprise there cele- 
brations of Gallic ceremonies and faith in Gallic 
superstitions ; the language is not very different ; 
there is the same recklessness in courting danger, 
and, when it comes, the same anxiety to escape it ; 
but the Britons display a higher spirit, not having 
been emasculated by long years of peace. The Gauls 
also, according to history, once shone in war : after- 
wards indolence made its appearance hand in hand 
with peace, and courage and liberty have been lost 
together. This has happened to such of the Britons 
as were conquered long ago : the rest remain what 
the Gauls once were. 

Their strength lies in their infantry ; but certain 
tribes also fight from chariots : the driver has the 
place of honour, the combatants are mere retainers. 
Originally the people were subject to kings : now 
they are distracted with parties and party spirit 
through the influence of chieftains ; nor indeed have 
we anv weapon against the stronger races more 
effective than this, that they have no common pur- 
pose : rarely will two or three states confer to repulse 
a common danger ; accordingly they fight individually 
and are collectively conquered. The sky is overcast 



imbribus ac nebulis foeduni ; asperitas frigoruni abest. 
dierum spatia ultra nostri orbis mensuram ; noxclara 
et extrema Britanniae parte brevis, ut finem atque 
initium lucis exiguo discrimine internoscas. quod si 
nubes non officiant, aspici per noctem solis fulgorem, 
nee occidere et exsurgere, sed transire adfirmant. 
scilicet extrema et plana terrarum humili umbra 
non erigunt tenebras, infraque caelum et sidera nox 

Solum praeter oleam vitemque et cetera calidioribus 
terris oriri sueta patiens fruguni, fecundum : tarde 
mitescunt, cito proveniunt ; eademque utriusque rei 
causa, multus umor terrarum caelique. fert Britannia 
aurum et argentura et alia metalla, ])retiinn victoriae. 
gignit et Oceanus margarita, sed subfusca ac liventia. 
quidam artem abesse legentibus arbitrantur ; nam in 
rubro mari viva ac spirantia saxis avelli, in Britannia, 
prout expulsa sint, colligi : ego facilius crediderim 
naturam margaritis deesse quam nobis avaritiam, 
13 Ipsi Britanni dilectum ac tributa et iniuncta im- 
perii munera impigre obeunt, si iniuriae absint : has 
aegre tolerant, iam domiti ut pareant, nondum ut 
serviant. igitur primus omnium Romanorum divus 
lulius cum exercitu Britanniam ingressus, quamquam 



with continual rain and cloud, but the cold is not 
severe. The duration of daylight is beyond the 
measure of our zone : the nights are clear and, in 
the distant parts of Britain, short, so that there is 
but a brief space separating the evening and the 
morning twilight. If there be no clouds to hinder, 
the sun's brilliance — they maintain — is visible 
throughout the night : it neither sets nor rises, but 
simply passes over. That is to say, the flat ex- 
tremities of earth with their low shadows do not 
permit the darkness to mount high, and nightfall 
never reaches the sky or the stars. ^ 

The soil, except for the olive and the vine and the 
other fruits usual in warmer lands, permits and is even 
prolific of crops : they ripen slowly, but are quick to 
sprout — in each case for the same reason, the abun- 
dant moisture of the soil and sky. Britain produces 
gold and silver and other metals : conquest is worth 
while. Their sea also produces pearls, but somewhat 
clouded and leaden-hued. Some people suppose that 
their pearl-fishers lack skill ; in the Red Sea we are to 
imagine them torn alive and still breathing from the 
shell, while in Britain they are gathered only when 
thrown up on shore : for myself I could more readily 
believe that quality was lacking in the pearls than 
greed in Romans. 

As for the people themselves, they discharge 
energetically the levies and tributes and imperial 
obligations imposed upon them, provided always 
there be no wrongdoing. They are restive under 
wrong : for their subjection, while complete enough 
to involve obedience, does not involve slavery. It 
was, in fact, Julius of happy memory who first of all 
Romans entered Britain with an army : he overawed 
1 Vide Introduction, p. 151. 


prospera piigna terruerit incolas ac litore potitus sit^ 
potest videri ostendisse posteris^ non tradidisse ; mox 
bella civilia et in rem publicam versa principumarma, 
ac longa f)blivio Britanniae etiam in pace : consilium 
id divus Augustus vocabat, Tiberius praeceptum. 

Agitasse Gaium Caesarem de intranda Britannia 
satis constat, ni velox ingenio mobili j)aenitentiae, et 
ingentes adversus Gerinaniam conatus frustra fuis- 
sent. divus Claudius auctor iterati operis^ trans- 
vectis legionibus auxiliisque et adsumpto in partem 
rerimi Vespasiano, quod initium venturae mox for- 
tunae fuit : domitae gentes, capti reges et monstratus 
fatis Vespasianus. 
14 Consularium primus Aulus Plautius praepositus ac 
subinde Ostorius Scaj)ula, uterque bello egregius : 
redactaque paulatim in formani provinciae proxima 
pars Britanniae ; addita insuper veteranorum colonia. 
quaedam civitates Cogidumno regi donatae (is ad 
nostram usque memoriam fidissimus mansit), vetere 
ac iam pridem recepta populi Romaui consuetudine, 
ut haberet instrumenta servitutis et reges. mox 
Didius Gallijs parta a prioribus continuity paucis ad- 
modum castellis in ulteriora promotis, per quae fama 
aucti officii quaereretur. Didium Veranius excepit, 
isque intra annum extinctus est. Suetonius hinc 
Paulinus biennio prosperas res habuit, subactis 



the natives by a successful battle and made himself 
master of the coast ; but it may be supposed that he 
rather discovered the island for his descendants than 
bequeathed it to them. Soon came the civil war, and 
the arms of Rome's chiefs were turned against the 
state, and there was a long forgetfulness of Britain, 
even after peace came. Augustus of happy memory 
called this " policy " ; Tiberius called it " precedent." 

That Gaius Caesar debated an invasion of Britain 
is well known ; but his sensitiveness was quick to 
repent : besides, his vast designs against Germany 
had failed. Claudius of happy memory was respons- 
ible for renewing the task : legions and auxiliary 
trooj)s were despatched across the Channel, and 
Vespasian was taken into partnership — the first step 
of the fame soon to come to him : tribes were con- 
quered, kings captured, and Vespasian introduced to 

The first consular governor to be placed in com- 
mand of Britain was Aulus Plautius : soon after came 
Ostorius Scapula, both distinguished soldiers. The 
nearest portion of Britain was reduced little by little 
to the condition of a province : a colony of veterans 
was also planted : certain states were handed over to 
King Cogidunmus — he has remained continuously 
loyal down to our own times — according to the old 
and long-i*eceived principle of Roman policy, which 
employs kings among the instruments of servitude. 

Next DidiusGallus maintained the ground gained by 
his predecessors, and pushed forward a few forts into 
remoter districts in order to extend his name and sjjhere 
of influence. Didius was followed by Veranius, who 
died within the year. Suetonius Paulinus after him 
had two successful years, reducing the tribes and 
1 I prefer to take /a<is here as a dative, 

N 193 


nationibus firmatisque praesidiis ; quorum fiducia 
Monam iiisulam ut vires rebellibus niinistrantem 
adgressus terga occasioni patefecit. 
15 Namque absentia legati reiiioto metu Britanni 
agitare inter se mala sevvitutis, conferre iniurias et 
interpretando accendere : nihil profici patientia nisi 
ut graviora tamquam ex faeili tolerantibus imperentur. 
singiilos sibi olim reges fuisse, nunc binos imponi, e 
quibus legatus in sanguinem, procurator in bona 
saeviret. aeque discordiam praepositorum, aeque 
concordiam subiectis exitiosam. alterius manum cen- 
turiones, alterius servos vim et contumelias miscere. 
nihil iam cupiditati, nihil libidini exceptum. in proe- 
lio fortiorem esse qui spoliet : nunc ab ignavis 
plerumque et imbellibus eripi domos, abstrahi liberos, 
iniungi dilectus^ tamquam mori tantum pro patria 
nescientibus. quantulum enim transisse militumj si 
sese Britanni numerent ? sic Germanias excussisse 
iugum : et flumine^. non Oceano defendi. sibi patriam 
coniuges parentes, illis avaritiam et luxuriam causas 
belli esse, recessuros^ ut divus Julius recessisset^ modo 
virtutem maiorum suorumaemularentur. neve proelii 
unius aut alterius eventu pavescerent : plus impetus, 
maiorem ^ constantiam penes miseros esse, iam Bri- 
tannorum etiam deos misereri, qui Romanum ducem 

1 plus impetus, maiorem. F. ; plus impetus integris, 
maiorem, //. 


strengthening the garrisons : presuming upon which 
success, he assailed the island of Mona, a rallying- 
point of rebellion, and so left his rear open to attack. 
For with fear banished and the governor absent 
the Britons began to canvass the woes of servitude, 
to compare their wrongs and inflame their signifi- 
cance. Nothing is gained by submission, they argued, 
except that heavier commands are laid on willing 
sufferers : in the old days they had had a king 
apiece ; now two kings apiece are foisted on them — 
a governor to riot in bloodshed, an Imperial Agent 
to work havoc on property. The dissensions or the 
unanimity of the twin rulers are equally fatal to their 
subjects : the myrmidons of the one ruler or the other, 
sergeants or slaves, deal violence alike and insult : 
nothing is beyond the reach of their avarice or their 
lust. On the battlefield it is the braver man who 
plunders his foe ; but under present circumstances it 
is largely unwarlike cowards who are stealing their 
homes, abducting their children, demanding levies 
from them ; as though they can die in any cause 
except their country's. The soldiers who have 
crossed the Channel are but a handful, if the Britons 
count their own numbers : this had the peoples of 
Germany done, and had shaken off the yoke, and yet 
theij had only a river to defend them, not the ocean. 
They had their country to fight for, their wives, their 
parents : the enemy were fighting only for greed and 
riotous living ; they would draw back, as Julius of 
happy memory had drawn back, if Britons would 
but emulate the valour of their fathers ; nor should 
tiiey be cowed by the issue of one or two battles; a 
fiercer fury, a higiier constancy were the preroga- 
tives of misery. At last Heaven itself was taking pity 
on Britain : it was keeping the Roman general at a 


absentem, qui relegatum in alia insula exercitum 
detinerent ; iam ipsos, quod difficillimum fuerit^ 
deliberare. porro in eius modi consiliis periculosius 
esse deprehendi quam audere. 
1 Q His atque talibus in vicem instincti, Boudicca gene- 
ris regii femina duce (neque enim sexum in imperiis 
discernunt) sumpsere universi bellum ; ac sparsos per 
castella milites consectatij expugnatis praesidiis ipsam 
coloniam invasere ut sedem servitutisj nee ullum in 
barbaris saevitiae genus omisit ira et victoria, quod nisi 
Paulinus cognitoprovinciae motu propere subvenisset, 
amissa Britannia foret ; quam unius proelii fortuna ve- 
teri patientiae restituit, tenentibus arma plerisque, 
quos conscientiadefectionis et proprius^ ex legato ti- 
mor agitabat^nequamquam egregius cetera adroganter 
in deditos et ut suae cuiusque iniuriae ultor durius con- 
suleret. missus igitur Petronius Turpilianus tamquam 
exorabilior et delictis hostium novus eoque paeniten- 
tiae mitior, compositis prioribus nihil ultra ausus Tre- 
bellio Maximo provinciam tradidit. Trebellius segnior 
et nullis castrorum experimentis, comitate quadam cu- 
randi provinciam tenuit. didicere iam barbari quoque 
ignoscere vitiis blandientibus, et interventus civilium 
armorum praebuit iustam segnitiae excusationem : 

^ \n-0[)nus, Jihenan'is ; propius, Jif<S'iS. 


distance, and his army in the seclusion of another 
island : already on their side they had taken the step 
which was most difficult to take — they had opened 
the question for debate ; and surely in such debates 
detection was more dangerous than daring. 

Inspiring each other with these and similar argu- 
ments, the whole nation took up arms, under the 
command of Boadicea, a woman of the ruling house 
— they recognise no distinction of sex among their 
rulers — and after pursuing the soldiers scattered 
among the Roman forts and capturing the garrisons, 
they invaded the colony itself, as the local centre of 
servitude : no sort of barbarian cruelty was overlooked 
in the hour of victory and vengeance. HadnotPaulinus 
learned of the stir in the province, and come hastily 
to the rescue, Britain would have been lost. The for- 
tunes of a single battle restored it to its ancient sub- 
missiveness ; for the most part only those remained 
under arms who were disquieted by a guilty sense of 
rebellion and a personal terror of the governor ; they 
feared lest, for all his virtues, he should take high- 
handed measures against such as surrendex*ed, and 
avenge harshly every wrong done as an individual 
wrong to himself. 

Accordingly Petronius Turpilianus was sent to the 
province as less inflexible ; a novice in handling the 
crimes of an enemy, he would be in proportion soft- 
hearted to their penitence. He arranged the out- 
standing difficulties, but, without venturing on any 
further action, handed over the province to Trebellius 
Maximus. Trebellius was less energetic, had no mili- 
tary experience, and kept the province in hand by a 
certain vigdant courtesy. Even the barbarians now 
learned to indulge pleasant vices, and the interruption 



sed diseordia laboratum, cumadsuetiis expeditioiiibus 
miles otio lasciviret. Trebellius, fuga ac latebris vitata 
exercitus ira iiidecorus atque humilis, precario niox 
pvaefuit^ ac velut pacti^ exercitus licentiam, dux sa- 
lutera, et seditio sine sanguine stetit. nee Vettius 
Bolanus, manentibus adhuc civilibus bellis, agitavit 
Britanniam disciplina : eadem inertia erga liostis^ simi- 
lis petulantia castroruni, nisi quod innocens Bolanus 
et nuIHs delictis invisus caritateni paraverat loco 

17 Sed ubi cum cetero orbe Vespasianus et Britan- 
niam reciperavit, magni duces^ egregii exercitus, 
minuta hostium spes. et teri'orem statim intulit 
Petilius Cerialisj Brigantium civitatem, quae nume- 
rosissima provinciae totius perliibetui*, adgressus. 
multa proelia, et aliquando non incruenta ; mag- 
namque Brigantium partem aut victoria amplexus 
est aut bello. et Cerialis quidem alterius successoris 
curam famamque obruisset : sustinuit molem lulius 
Frontinus, vir magnus, quantum licebat, validamque 
et pugnacem Sihu-um gentem armis subegit, super 
virtutem hostium locorum quoque difficultates 

18 Hunc Britanniae statum, has bellorum vices media 
iam aestate transgressus Agricola invenit, cum et 


of civil war afforded a sound excuse for his inaction ; 
but there was mutiny and trouble when the army, 
accustomed to the field, became riotous and idle. 
Trebellius, after eluding the violence of the soldiei-y 
by escaping to a hiding-place, soon regained, at the 
cost of shame and humiliation, a precarious authority. 
They arranged between them, so to speak, that the 
army should enjoy itself, but should spare its general's 
life ; so the mutiny cost no blood. 

Nor did Vettius Bolanus either, so long as the 
civil war continued, distress Britain with discipline ; 
there was the same inaction in the field, the same 
rioting in camp, except that Bolanus, who was inoffen- 
sive and had done nothing to earn hatred, possessed 
the esteem, if not the obedience, of his men. 

But when Britain with the rest of the world was 
recovered by Vespasian, generals became great, 
armies excellent, and the enemy's hopes languished. 
And Petilius Cerialis at once struck terror into their 
hearts by invading the commonwealth of the 
Brigantes, which is said to be the most numerous 
tribe of the wliole ])rovince : many battles were 
fought, sometimes bloody battles, and by virtue of 
his victories or by dint of actual fighting he drew 
within his toils a large portion of the Brigantes. 

Cerialis, indeed, would have eclipsed the vigilance 
or the credit of any other successor ; but Julius 
Frontinus was a great man, and so far as was humanly 
possible sustained the burden cast on him : his arms 
reduced the Silures, a powerful and warlike race ; 
he surmounted not only the valour of the enemy 
but also the physical difficulties of their land. 

Such was the condition in Britain, such the alter- 
nations of war and peace which Agricola found when 
he crossed thither in the middle of summer. The 



milites velut omissa expeditione ad securitateni et 
hostes ad occasionem verterentur. Ordovicum civitas 
haud multo ante adventiim eius alam in finibus suis 
agentem prope universam obtriverat, eoque initio 
erecta provincia. et qiiibus bellum volentibus erat, 
probare exemplum ac recentis legati animum op-- 
periri, cum Agricola, quamquam transvecta aestas, 
sparsi per provinciani numeri, praesumpta apud 
militem illius anni quies, tarda et contraria bellum 
inchoaturo, et plerisque custodiri suspecta potius 
videbatur, ire obviam discrimini statuit ; contractisque 
legionum vexillis et modica auxiliorum manu, quia in 
aequum degredi Ordovices non audebant, ipse ante 
agmen^ quo ceteris par animus simili periculo esset, 
erexit aciem. caesaque prope universa gente^ non 
ignarus instandum famae ac, prout prima cessissent, 
terrorem ceteris fore, Monani insulam, a cuius pos- 
sessione revocatum Paulinum rebellione totius Bri- 
tanniae sujM'a memoravi, redigere in potestatem 
animo intendit. sed ut in subitis consiliis naves 
deerant : ratio et constantia ducis transvexit. de- 
positis omnibus sarcinis lectissimos auxiliarium, 
quibus nota vada et patrius nandi usus quo simul 


army was looking foi* an end of anxieties, campaigning 
being presumably over ; the enemy for o])portunity. 
The tribes of the Ordovices, shortly before his arrival, 
had crushed almost to a man the regiment of cavalry 
encamped among them ; and this first stroke had 
excited the province. Those who wanted war were 
disposed to applaud the precedent, but on the other 
hand to wait and see the temper of the new governor. 
As for Agricola, though the summer was over, 
though the different units were scattered through 
the province, though his soldiers had already laid 
aside service for that year — all factors of delay and 
hindrance if he was to begin fighting — and although 
the balance of opinion was in favour of merely 
watching suspicious movements, he decided to con- 
front the danger. He gathered the detachments of 
the several legions and a moderate force of native 
auxiliaries, and then, when the Ordovices did not 
venture to descend from the hills, led his army to the 
uplands, himself marching in the van in order that 
the rest might find equal spirit for similar peril. He 
almost exterminated the whole tribe : then, recog- 
nising the necessity of confirming first impressions, 
knowing that he dejiended upon the issue of his first 
campaign to terrorise the enemy for the future, he 
determined to reduce the island of Mona, from the 
capture of which, as I have before recorded, Pauliiuis 
had been recalled by the general rebellion in Britain. 
His plans had been hastily formed and ships were 
not at hand ; yet the resourcefulness and deter- 
mination of the general bridged the straits. For 
after unloading all the baggage he })icked a body of 
native auxiliaries who knew the fords, and had that 
facility in swimming which belongs to their nation, 
and by means of which they can control simul- 



seque et arnia ct equos regunt, ita repente inniisit, 
ut obstupefacti hostes, qui classem^ qui iiavis, qui 
mare expectabant, nihil avduum aut invictum credi- 
derint sic ad bellum venientibus ; ita petita pace ac 
dedita insula clarus ac magnus haberi Agricola, 
quippe cui ingredienti ])rovinciam. quod tempus alii 
])er ostentationeni et ofticiorum ambitum transigunt, 
lal)or et periculum placuisset. nee Agricola pros- 
perltate rerum in vanitatem usus, expeditionem aut 
victoriam vocabat victos continuisse ; ne laureatis 
quidem gesta prosecutus est, sed ipsa dissimulatione 
famae famam auxit, aestimantibus quanta futuri spe 
tarn magna tacuisset. 
19 Ceterum animorum proviiiciae prudens, simulque 
doctus per aliena experimenta parum profici armis, si 
iniuriae sequerentur, causas bellorum statuit excidere. 
a se suisque orsus primum domum suam coercuit, 
quod plerisque baud minus arduum est quam pro- 
vinciam regere. nihil per libertos servosque publicae 
rei, non studiis privatis nee ex commendatione aut 
precibus centurionem militesve ascire, sed optimum 
quemque fidissimum putare. omnia scire, non omnia 



taiieously their own movements, their weapons, and 
their horses; he then huinched tliem upon the enemy 
so suddenly that the astonished islanders, Avho looked 
for fleets of shi[)s upon the sea,i prom))tly came to tiie 
conclusion that nothing was hard and nothinsr invin- 
cible to men who fought in this fashion. Accordingly 
they petitioned for peace and surrendered the island ; 
and Agricola began to be regarded as a brilliant 
and a great man. 

At his entry into the province, at the time, that is, 
which others spend in advertisement and in a round 
of functions,^ lie had chosen hard work and peril ; 
nor even now did he turn his success to boastfulness, 
or write about cam])aigns and victories, because he 
had held down a conquered people : he did not even 
follow up his achievement by affixing laurels to his 
desjjatches ; yet his very dej^recation of glory 
increased his glory for eyes which could divine how 
much the future must contain for one who made 
light of such a past. 

Be that as it may, Agricola was heedful of the 
temper of the provincials, and took to heart the 
lesson which the experience of others suggested, 
that little was accomplished by force if injustice 
followed. He decided therefore to cut away at the 
root the causes of war. He began with himself and 
his own people : he put in order his own house, a 
task not less difficult for most governors than the 
government of a province. He transacted no public 
business through freedmen or slaves : he admitted 
no officer or private to his staff from private feeling, 
or j^rivate recommendation, or entreaty : he gave his 
confidence only to the best. He made it his business 

1 Vide Introduction, p. 1.59. 

2 Generally translated "in thecourtingof flattery,"" but 



exsequi. parvis peccatis veniam, magnis severitatem 
commodare ; nee poena semper, sed saepius paeni- 
tentia contentus esse ; officiis et administrationibus 
})otius non peccaturos praeponere, quam damnare 
cum peccassent. frumenti et tributorum exactionem 
aequalitate muneruni mollire, circumcisis quae in 
quaestum reperta ipso tribiito gravius tolerabantur. 
namque per ludibrium adsidere clausis liorreis et 
emere ultro frunienta ac f luere ^ pretio cogebantur. 
devortia itinerum et longinquitas regionum indice- 
batur, ut civitates proximis ^ hibernis in remota et avia 
deferrent, donee quod omnibus in promptu erat 
paucis lucrosuni fieret. 
20 Haec prime stntim anno comprimendo egregiam 
famam paci circumdedit, quae vel incuria vel 
intolerantia priorum haud minus quam bellum 
timebatur. sed ubi aestas advenit, contracto exercitu 
multus in agmine, laudare modestiam, disiectos 
coercere ; loca castris ipse capere, aestuaria ac silvas 
ipse praetemptare ; et nihil interim apud hostis quie- 
tum pati, quo minus subitis excursibus popularetur ; 

1 luere, Wex ; ludere, J/*S'-S'., F., IT. 

2 civitates proximis, F. ; civitates pro proximis, //. 



;o know everything ; if not, always, to follow up 
lis knowledge : he turned an indulgent ear to small 
)fFences, yet was strict to offences that were serious : 
le was satisfied generally with penitence instead of 
punishment : to all offices and services he preferred 
;o advance the men not likely to offend rather than 
:o condemn them after offences. 

Demands for grain and tribute he made less 
burdensome by equalising his imposts : he cut off 
every charge invented only as a means of plunder, 
M\d therefore more grievous to be borne than the 
tribute itself. As a matter of fact, the natives used 
to be compelled to go through the farce of dancing 
attendance at locked granaries, buying grain to be 
returned,^ and so redeeming their obligations at a 
price : places off the road or distant districts were 
named in the governor's proclamations, so that the 
tribes with winter quarters close at hand delivered 
at a distance and across country, and ultimately a 
task easy for every one became a means of profit to a 

By repressing these evils at once in his first year 
he cast a halo over such days of peace as the care- 
lessness or harshness of previous governors had made 
not less dreadful than war. But when summer came 
he gathered his army and was constantly on the 
march, commending discipline, curbing stragglers : he 
chose himself the camping-ground : he was the first 
himself to explore estuaries and forests : meanwhile 
he gave the enemy no peace from the devastations of 

1 Ultra = gvain which they did not want and did not actually 
receive, but for which they paid, and then left it in the 
granary as part of their tribute to Rome : they could not even 
contribute their own grain for the purpose, because the places 
fixed for receiving it were selected for their inaccessibility. 



atque ubi satis terruerat, pavcendo rursus invitamenta 
pacis ostentare. quibus i-ebus multae civitates, quae 
in ilium diem ex aequo egerant, datis obsidibus iram 
posuere^ et praesidiis castellisque circumdutae sunt^ 
tanta ratione curaque, ut nulla ante Britanniae nova 
pars pariler illacessita transierit. 

21 Sequens liiems saluberrimis consiliis absumpta. 
namque ut homines dispersi ac rudes eoque in bella 
faciles quieti et otio per volu])tates adsuescerent, 
hortari privatim, adiuvare publice, ut tenipla fora 
domes extruerent, laudando promptos et castigando 
segnes : ita honoris aemulatio pro necessitate erat. 
iam vero principum filios liberalibus artibus erudire, 
et iugenia Britannorum studiis Gallorum anteferre, 
ut (pii modo linguam Romanam abnuebant, eloquen- 
tiam concupiscerent. inde etiam habitus nostri 
honor et frequens toga, paulatimque descensum ad 
delenimenta vitioruvn, j)orticus et balinea et con- 
vivioruni elegantiani. idque apud imperitos human- 
itas vocabatur, cum pai's servitutis esset. 

£2 Tertius expeditionum annus novas gentis aperuit, 
vastatis usque ad Tanaum (aestuario nomen est) 

1 circumdatae sunt, F. ; circumdatae, II. 



sudden raids : conversely by his clemency, after he 
had ovei'awed them sufficiently, he paraded before 
them the attractions of peace. By these means 
many states which up to that time had dealt with 
Rome on even terms were induced to give hostages 
and abandon their hostility : they were then so care- 
fully and skilfully surrounded with Roman garrisons 
and forts that no newly acquired district ever before 
passed over to Rome with so little interference from 
the neighbours. 

'I'he winter which followed was spent in the pro- 
secution of sound measures. In order that a popula- 
tion scattered and uncivilised, and proportionately 
ready for war, might be habituated by comfort to 
peace and quiet, he would exhort individuals, assist 
communities, to erect temples, market-places, houses : 
he praised the energetic, rebuked the indolent, and 
the rivalry for his compliments took the place of 
coercion. Moreover he began to train the sons of 
the chieftains in a liberal education, and to give a 
preference to the native talents of the Briton as 
against the plodding Gaul. As a result, the nation 
Avhich used to reject the Latin language began to 
aspire to rhetoric : further, the wearing of our di*ess 
became a distinction, and the toga came into fashion, 
and little by little the Britons were seduced into 
alluring vices : to the lounge, the bath, the well- 
appointed dinner table. The simjjle natives gave the 
name of " culture " to this factor of their slavery. 

The third year of campaigning brought new tribes 
before the curtain : the natives were harried as far 
north as the estuary of the Tanaus.^ Overawed by 

^ This cannot be identified : theTay, the Forth, the Tweed, 
the North Tyne, and on the other side the Sol way Firth and 
the Clyde, have been suggested. 



nationibus. qua fomiidine territi hostes quamquam 
conflictatum saevis tempestatibus exercituni lacessere 
non ausi ; ponendisque insuper castellis spatium fuit. 
adnotabant periti non alium ducem opportunitates 
locorum sapientius legisse ; nullum ab Agricola posi- 
tum castellum aut vi hostium expugnatuni aut 
pactione ac fuga desertum ; nam adversus moras 
obsidionis annuls copiis firmabantur. ita intrepida 
ibi hiems, crebrae eruptiones et sibi quisque prae- 
sidio, irritis hostibus eoque desperantibuS;, quia soliti 
plerumque damna aestatis hibernis eventibus pensare 
tum aestate atque hieme iuxta })ellebantur. nee 
Agricola umquam per alios gesta avidus intercepit : 
seu centurio seu praefectus incorruptum facti testem 
habebat. apud qiiosdam acerbior in conviciis nar- 
rabatur, ut erat comis ^ bonis, ita adversus malos 
iniucundus. ceterum ex iracuiidia nihil supererat 
secretum, ut silentium eius non timeres : honestius 
putabat offendere quam odisse. 
23 Qiiarta aestas obtinendis quae percucurrerat in- 
sumpta ; ac si virtus exercituum et Romani nominis 
gloria pateretur, inventus in ipsa Britannia terminus, 
namque Clota et Bodotria diversi maris aestibus per 
inmensum revectae, angusto terrarum spatio diri- 
muntur : quod tum praesidiis firmabatur atque omnis 
propior sinus tenebatur, suminotis velut in aliam 
insulam hostibus, 

1 narniltatur ut erat comis, F. ; narrabatur, et erat comis, H. 


the terror thereof, the enemy did not venture to 
annoy our army, though it suffered fi*om shocking 
weather : time was found also for the planting of 
forts. Experts noted that no other general selected 
more shrewdly the advantages of site : no fort planted 
by Agricola was carried by storm by the enemy, or 
abandoned by arrangement and flight : as for a pro- 
tracted siege, against this they were secured by 
supplies for twelve months. Accordingly winter w^as 
shoi'n of its fears and sallies were frequent : each 
commander could protect himself, whilst the enemy 
were helpless and therefore despaired. They had been 
accustomed in most places to weigh the " incidents " 
of winter against the summer's losses ; but now they 
were repelled summer and winter alike. 

Yet Agricola was never grasping to embezzle the 
achievements of others : the other, whether regular 
officer or officer of irregulars, found in him an honest 
witness to his feats. Some there were who described 
him as too sharp-tongued in censure : as gracious to 
the worthy, but proportionately unpleasant to the 
undeserving. However it be, his anger left no secret 
sediment behind it, and no man had cause to fear his 
silence : he thought it more honourable to hurt than 
to hate. 

The fourth summer was spent in securing the 
ground hastily traversed, and, if only the ardour of 
the aiTny and the glory of Rome had allowed it, he 
would have found within the limits of Britain itself a 
frontier ; for Clota and Bodotria, which stand far back 
on the tidal waters of opposite seas, are separated by 
but a naiTow distance : this space was fortified during 
this summer by Roman garrisons, and the whole sweep 
of country to the south secured, the enemy being 
pushed back into a separate island, so to speak. 

o 209 


24 Quinto expeditionum anno nave prima transgressus 

ignotas ad id tempus gentis crebris simul ac prosperis 

proeliis domuit ; eamque jiartem Britanniae quae 

Hibernian! aspicit cojnis instruxit, in sjoem magis 

quam ob formidinem, si quidem Hibernia medio inter 

Britanniam atque Hispaniam sita et Gallico quoque 

.mari opportuna valentissimam imperii partem magnis 

in vicem usibus miscuerit. spatium eius^ si Britanniae 

comparetur, angustius^ nostri maris insulas superat. 

solum caelumque et ingenia cultusqiie hominum baud 

multumaBritannia differunt: melius aditus^ portusque 

per commercia et negotiatores cogniti. Agricola ex- 

pulsum seditione domestica unum ex regulis gentis 

exeeperat ac specie amicitiae in occasionem retine- 

bat. saepe ex eo audivi legione una et modicis 

auxiliis debellari obtinerique Hiberniam posse ; 

idque etiam adversus Britanniam profuturum, si 

Romana ubique arma et velut e conspectu libertas 


1 differunt : melius aditus, Rhenanus, Bdrhens ; ditferunt : 
in * * * melius aditus, F. ; differunt : interiora parum, melius 
aditus, H. ; differt : in melius: aditus, MSS. 



In the fifth year of campaigning he crossed in the 
first ship to make the passage,^ and in repeated and 
successful battles reduced tribes up to that time 
unknown : he also manned with troops that part of 
the British coast which faces Hibernia, with a 
forward policy in view rather than to avert danger — 
on the chance, that is, that Hibernia, which lies 
between Britain and Hispania and also commands 
the Gallic Sea, might unite, to their mutual advan- 
tage, the most effective portions of our Emjjire.^ 

That island, compared with Britain, is of smaller 
dimensions, but it is larger than the islands of 
our own sea.^ In regard to soil, climate, and the 
character and ways of its inhabitants, it is not 
markedly different from Britain : Ave are better 
informed, thanks to the trade of merchants, about 
the approaches to the island and its harbours.* 

Agricola had given shelter to one of the petty 
chieftains whom faction had driven from home, and 
under the cloak of friendship held him in reserve to 
be used as opportunity offered. I have often heard 
my father-in-law say that with one legion and a fair 
contingent of irregulars Hibernia could be over- 
powered and held, and that the feat would pay as 
against Britain also ; for so Roman troops would be 
everywhere and liberty would sink, so to speak, below 
the horizon. 

^ I.e. (probably) directly navigation opened in the spring. 
Tlie Latin does not explain whether Agricola crossed the 
Clyde to Argyllshire, or whether he crossed to Ireland itself. 
The balance of evidence is against Ireland. 

2 This can only mean Spain and Britain ; but the descrip- 
tion of them seems exaggerated, and the singular valentissimam 
partem is very strange. 

3 The Mediterranean, t.e. generally, not merely the Tyrrhene 
Sea. * See Appendix II, p. 341. 



*25 Ceterum aestate, qua sextum officii annum inco- 
habat^ amplexus civitates trans Bodotriam sitas^ quia 
motus universarum ultra gentium et infesta hostibus 
exercitus itinera timebantur, portus classe exploravit ; 
quae ab Agricola primum adsumpta in partem virium 
sequebatur egregia specie, cum simul terra, simul 
mari bellum impelleretur, ac saepe isdem castris 
pedes equesque et nauticus miles mixti copiis et 
laetitia sua quisque facta, suos casus attollerent, ac 
modo silvarum ac montium profunda, modo tempes- 
tatum ac fluctuum adversa, hinc terra et hostis, hinc 
victus Oceanus militari iactantia compararentur. 

Britannos quoque, ut ex captivis audiebatur, visa 
classis obstupefaciebat, tamquam aperto maris sui 
secreto ultimum victis perfugium clauderetur. ad 
manus et arma conversi Caledoniam incolentes 
populi, paratu magno, maiore fama, uti mos est de 
ignotis, oppugnare ultro castella adorti, metum ut 
provocantes addiderant ; regrediendumque citra Bo- 
dotriam et excedendum potius quam pellerentur 
ignavi specie prudentium admonebant, cum interim 
cognoscit hostis pluribus agminibus irrupturos. ac 

1 A.D. ^3. 


Be that as it may, in the summer in which he 
began his sixth year of office ^ he embraced in his 
operations the tribes beyond Bodotria : fearing a 
general movement on the part of all the tribes on 
the further side, and to guard against his army's 
march being beset with foes, he exploited the har- 
bours with his fleet. Agricola was the first to make 
it a factor in his resources, and its attendance added 
to the pomp and circumstance of his advance : the 
war was pushed by sea and land simultaneously, and 
often infantry, cavalry, and marines, gathering their 
exultant forces into a single camp, magnified their 
several feats, their several escapes: forest-depths and 
mountain-heights on the one side, the trials of tem- 
pests and of seas on the other ; the conquest of the 
land and the foeman by these men, of the ocean by 
those — here were themes for comparison and for a 
soldier's boast. 

The Britons, equally on their side, as was learned 
from prisoners, were amazed at the presence of the 
fleet : it seemed as though the secret places of their 
sea were being laid bare, and the last asjdum barred 
against the vanquished. 

The tribes of C aledonia hurried to take up arms : 
their forces were large and were reported larger, 
as happens usually when the enemy is unknown. 
They undertook, without waiting, to storm the 
Roman forts ; the challenge made them formid- 
able. Cowards wearing the mask of wisdom began 
to recommend that he retire south of Bodotria 
and leave the country rather than be put out of 
it. In the midst of all this he hears that the enemy 
are about to attack in several divisions : fearing to 
be surrounded, since they had the advantage both 
in numbers and in knowledge of the ground, he 



ne superante numero et peritia locorum circumire- 
tur, diviso et ipse in tris partes exercitu incessit. 

2^ Quod ubi cognitum hosti, mutato repente consilio 
universi nonam legionem ut maxime invalidam nocte 
adgressi, inter somnum ac trepidationem caesis vigi- 
libus irrupere. iamque in ipsis castris pugnabatur, 
cum Agricola iter hostium ab exploratoribus edoctus et 
vestigiis insecutus^ velocissimos equitum peditumque 
adsultare tergis pugnantium iubet, mox ab universis 
adici clamorem ; et propinqua luce fulsere signa. ita 
ancipiti malo territi Britanni ; et Romanis rediit 
animus^ ac securi pro salute de gloria certabant. ultro 
quin etiam erupere, et fuit atrox in ipsis portarum 
angustiis proelium, donee pulsi hostes, utroque exer- 
citu certante, his, ut tulisse opem, illis, ne eguisse 
auxilio viderentur. quod nisi paludes et silvae 
fugientes texissent, debellatum ilia victoria foret. 

27 Cuius conscientia ac fama ferox exercitus nihil vir- 
tuti suae invium et penetrandam Caledoniam inveni- 
endunique tandem Britanniae terniinum continuo 
proeliorum cursu fremebant. atque illi modo cauti 
ac sapientes prompti post eventum ac magniloqui 
erant. iniquissima haec bellorum condicio est : pros- 
pera omnes sibi vindicant, adversa uni imputantur, 
at Britanni non virtute se, sed occasione et arte ducis 


divided his own army also into three parts and so 

The enemy, learning this, suddenly changed their 
plans. They attacked by night with their combined 
forces the Ninth (and weakest) Legion : they cut down 
the pickets and burst in upon a scene of somnolent 
confusion. The fighting was in process in the very 
camp when Agricola, learning of the enemy's march 
from his scouts and following on their footsteps, 
launches the fleetest of his cavalry and infantry upon 
the flanks of the combatants, and backs them up with a 
shout along the whole line. Dawn was at hand, its 
gleam already on the Roman standards : the Britons 
were panic-stricken to find themselves between two 
evils, while the Romans regained their courage,and, no 
longer alarmed for their safety, fought for distinction ; 
they even sallied from the camp, and there was hot 
fighting in its narrow gateway ; until the enemy 
gave way before the efforts of the two Roman armies 
to prove, the one that they were rescuers, the other 
that they had not needed rescue. Had not the 
marshes and forests covered the fugitives that victory 
would have ended the war. 

Flushed with this consciousness and with glory, the 
army began to cry that nothing could bar the way 
before its courage, that Caledonia must be penetrated, 
that the furthest shores of Britain must once for all 
be discovered in one continuous campaign. The men 
who were yesterday so cautious and prudent w'ere 
now, after the event, ready and vainglorious. This 
is the unjustest feature of campaigning : every one 
claims victories ; reverses are attributed to one man 

The Britons, on the other hand, conceiving that 
they had been vanquished, not in courage, but by the 



victos rati, nihil ex adrogantia remittere, quo minus 
iuventutem armarent, coniuges acliberos in loca tuta 
transferrent, coetibus ac sacrificiis conspirationem 
civitatum sancirent. atque ita irritatis utrimque 
aniniis discessum. 
28 Eadem aestate cohors Usiporum per Germanias 
conscripta et in Britanniam transmissa magnum ac 
memorabile facinus ausa est. occiso centurione ac 
militibuSj qui ad tradendam disciplinam immixti 
manipulis exemplum et rectores habebantur, tris 
liburnicas adactis per vim gubernatoi'ibus ascendere ; 
et uno regente/ suspectis duobus eoque interfectis, 
nondum vulgato rumore ut miraculum praevehe- 
bantur. mox ad aquandum atque utilia raptum 
egressi et cum plerisque - Britannorum sua defensan- 
tium proelio congressi ac saepe victores, aliquando 
puisi, eo ad extremum inopiae venere, ut infirmissimos 
suorum, mox sorte ductos vescerentur. atque ita cir- 
cumvecti Britanniam, amissis per inscitiam regendi 
navibus, pro praedonibus habiti, primum a Suebis, 
mox a Frisiis intercepti sunt, ac fuere quos per com- 
mercia venumdatos et in nostram usque ripam mu- 
tatione ementium adductos indicium tanti casus 

1 uno regente, Doderlein ; uno remigaute, F. ; uno renavi- 
gante, H. 

2 mox ad aquandum atque utilia raptum egressi et cum 
plerisque, H. ; mox ad aquam atque utilia raptis secum * * * 
cum plerisque. F. 



general's opportune strategy, abated nothing of their 
arrogance ; but armed their youth^ transferred their 
women and children to safe places, and formulated 
the confederacy of their tribes by conference and 
sacrifice. Accordingly the two armies separated with 
unrest in the mind of each. 

During the same summer a battalion of Usipi, 
enrolled in Germany and sent across to Britain, 
perpetrated a signal and memorable crime. After 
murdering their centurions and such soldiers as had 
been distributed among their comj)anies for the dis- 
semination of military discipline, and who passed as 
models and instructors, they manned three galleys, 
violently coercing the helmsmen : with one man to 
steer them for the other two fell under suspicion 
and were put to death — they flaunted like a meteor 
past the fleet, before the news was abroad. After- 
wards, disembarking for water and to forage for 
necessaries, they gave battle to various bodies of 
Britons defending their property, and after many 
victories and some defeats ultimately were reduced 
to such straits as to eat the weakest of their company, 
and after them the victims di-awn by lot. In this 
fashion they circumnavigated Britain, and then lost 
the ships they could not steer. They were treated 
as pirates and caj^tured, some by the Suebi, the re- 
mainder by the Frisii ; some of them also were sold 
in the way of trade, and so reached by exchange 
of purchasers our bank of the river, and gained 
notoriety by their commentaries on this eventful 

1 See Appendix III, p. 342, and Introduction. 



~9 Initio aestatis Agricola domestico vulnere ictus, 
anno ante natum filium amisit. quem casum neque 
lit plerique fortiuni viroruni ambitiose, neque per 
lamenta riirsus ac maerorem muliebriter tulit : et in 
luctu bellum inter remedia erat. igitur praemissa 
classe, quae pluribus locis praedata magnum et in- 
certum terrorem faceret, expedito exercitu, cui ex 
Britannis fortissimos et longa pace exploratos addi- 
derat, ad montem Graupium pervenit, quem iam 
hostis insederat. nam Britanni nihil fracti pugnae 
prioris eventu, et ultionem aut servitium expectantes, 
tandemque docti commune periculum concordia pro- 
pulsandum, legationibus et foederibus omnium civita- 
tum vires exciverant. iamque super triginta milia 
armatorum aspiciebantur, et adhuc adfluebat omnis 
iuventus et quibus cruda ac viridis senectus, clai'i bello 
et sua quisque decora gestantes, cum inter plures 
duces virtute et genere praestans nomine Calgacus 
apud contractam multitudinem })roelium poscentem 
in hunc modum loeutus fertur : 

30 " Quotiens causas belli et necessitatem nostram 
intueor, magnus milii animus est hodiernum diem 



In the beginning of the summer Agricola suffered 
a domestic blow : he lost the son born a year before. 
He took the loss neither with bravado, like most 
strong men, nor yet with the lamentations and 
mournings of a woman. Among other things, he 
turned for comfort to fighting. Accordingly he sent 
forward the fleet to make descents on various places, 
and to spread a general and vague panic ; and 
then, with his army in light marching order, and 
strengthened by the best of the British soldiers — 
men tried through long years of peace — he advanced 
to Mount Graupius,^ of which the enemy was already 
in occupation. 

For the Britons, in no wise broken by the issue of 
the previous battle, and seeing before them vengeance 
or slaver}^, and learning at last that a common danger 
must be repelled by union, had brought into the 
field, by means of envoys and treaties, the flower of 
all their states. Already more than thirty thousand 
armed men were on view, and still the stream flowed 
in of all who were in their prime and of those whose 
age was still rude and green, famous warriors wear- 
ing their several decorations. 

Pre-eminent by character and birth among the 
many chieftains was one named Calgacus. To the 
gathered host demanding battle he is reported to 
have spoken in the following strain : 

" As often as I survey the causes of this war and 
our present straits, my heart beats high that this 
very day and this unity of ours will be the beginning 

1 The editio princeps of Puteoleanus reads Grampius, and 
thus suggests the Grampians ; but the equivocation, strange 
though it be, appears to be accidental, the name " Gram- 
pians " not occurring elsewhere before the sixteenth century. 
No belter clue exists, however. 



consensumque vestrum initium libertatis toti Britan- 
niae fore ; nam et universi servitutis expertes et 
nullae ultra terrae ac ne mare quidem securum in- 
minente nobis classe Roniana. ita proelium atque 
arma, quae fortibus honesta, eadem etiam ignavis 
tutissima sunt. jiriores pugnae, quibus adversus 
Romanos varia fortuna certatum est, spem ac sub- 
sidium in nostris manibus habebant, quia nobilissimi 
totius Britanniae eoque in ipsis penetralibus siti nee 
servientium litora aspicientes, oculos quoque a con- 
tactu dominationis inviolatos habebamus. nos terra- 
rum ac libertatis extremos recessus ipse ac sinus 
famae in hunc diem defendit ; atque omne ignotum 
pro magnifico est : sed ninic terminus Britanniae 
patet, nulla iam ultra gens, nihil nisi fluctus et saxa, 
et infestiores Romani, quorum superbiam frustra per 
obsequium ac modestiam efFugcris. raptores orbis, 
postquam cuncta vastantibus defuere terrae, iam et 
mare scrutantur : si locuples hostis est, avari, si 
jjauper, ambitiosi, quos non Oriens, non Occidens 
satiaverit : soli omnium opes atque inopiam pari 
adfectu concupiscunt. auferre trucidare rapere falsis 
nominibus imperium, atque ubi solitudinem f'aciunt, 
pacem appellant. 
• I " Liberos cuique ac propinquos suos natura caris- 
simos esse voluit : hi per dilectus alibi servituri 
auferuntur : coniuges sororesque etiam si hostilem 
libidinem effugiant, nomine amicorum atque hospi- 
tum polluuntur. bona fortunaeque in tributum, ager 
atque annus in frumentum, corpora ipsa ac manus 


of liberty for all Britain. We are all of us untouched 
yet by slavery : there is no other land behind us^and 
the very sea even is no longer free ironi alarms, now 
that the fleet of Rome threatens us. Battle therefore 
and arms, the strong man's pi'ide, are also the coward's 
best safety. Former battles in which Rome was re- 
sisted left behind them hopes of help in us, because 
we, the noblest souls in all Britain, the dwellers in 
its inner shrine, had never seen the shores of slavery 
and had preserved our very eyes from the desecration 
and the contamination of tyranny : here at the world's 
end, on its last inch of liberty, we have lived unmo- 
lested to this day, in this sequestered nook of story ; 
for the unknown is ever magnified. 

" But to-day the uttermost parts of Britain are laid 
bare ; there are no other tribes to come ; nothing but 
sea and cliffs and these moi*e deadly Romans, whose 
arrogance you shun in vain by obedience and self- 
restraint. Harriers of the world, now that earth fails 
their all-devastating hands, they probe even the sea : 
if their enemy have wealth, they have greed ; if he be 
poor, they are ambitious ; East nor West has glutted 
them ; alone of mankind they behold with the same 
passion of concupiscence waste alike and want. To 
plunder, butcher, steal, these things they misname 
empire : they make a desolation and they call it 

" Childi-en and kin are by the law of nature each 
man's dearest possessions ; they are swept away from 
us by conscription to be slaves in other lands : our 
wives and sisters, even when they escape a soldier's 
lust, are debauched by self-styled friends and guests : 
our goods and chattels go for tribute ; our lands and 
harvests in requisitions of grain; life and limb them- 
selves are used up in levelling marsh and forest to 



silvis ac paludibus emutiiendis inter verbera ac con- 
tumelias conteruntur. nata sei'vituti maucipia semel 
veneunt^ atque ultro a dominis aluntur : Britannia 
servitutem suam quotidie emit, quotidie pascit. ac 
sicut in familia recentissimus quisque ser\ orum etiam 
conservis ludibrio est^ sic in hoc orbis terraruni vetere 
faniulatu novi nos et viles in excidium petiniur ; 
neque enim arva nobis aut metalla aut portus sunt, 
quibus exercendis reserveiniir. virtus porro acferocia 
subiectorum ingrata imperantibus ; et longinquitas ac 
secretum ipsum quo tutius, eo suspectius. ita sublata 
spe veniae tandem sumite animum, tarn quibus salus 
quam quibus gloria carissima est. Brigantes femina 
duce exurere coloniam, expugnare castra, ac nisi 
feHcitas in socordiam vertisset, exuere iugumpotuere : 
nos integri et indomiti et in libertatem, non in paeni- 
tentiani ^ bellaturi,- jirinio statim congressu ostenda- 
mus, quos sibi Caledonia viros seposuerit. 
'2 " An eandem Romanis in bello virtutem quam in 
pace lasciviani adesse creditis ? nostris illi dissension- 
ibus ac discoidiis clari vitia hostium in gloriam 
exercitus sui vertunt ; quern contractum ex div^ersis- 
simis gentibus ut secundae res tenent, ita adversae 
dissolvent : nisi si Gallos et Germanos et (pudet 
dictu) Britannorum plerosque, licet dominationi 

^ paenitentiam, F. : patientiam, H. 
2 bellaturi, H. ; f laturi, F. 



the accompaniment of gibes and blows. Slaves born 
to slavery are sold once for all and are fed hy their 
masters free of cost ; but Britain pays a daily price 
for her own enslavement, and feeds the slavers ; and 
as in the slave-gang the new-comer is a mockery 
even to his fellow-slaves, so in this world-wide, age- 
old slave-gang, we, the new hands, worth least, are 
marked out to be made away with : we have no lands 
or mines or harbours for the working of which we 
might be set aside. 

" Further, courage and high spirit in their subjects 
displease our masters : our very distance and seclu- 
sion, in proportion as they save us, make us more 
suspected : therefore abandon all hope of pardon, 
and even at this late hour take courage, whether 
safety or glory be most prized. A woman could 
lead the Brigantes to burn a colony, to storm a camp ; 
and had not their success lapsed into listlessness they 
might have thrown off the yoke ; but fve shall fight 
as men untamed, men who have never fallen from 
freedom, not as returning penitents : let us show them 
at the very first encounter what manner of men 
Caledonia holds in reserve for her cause in her far 

" Or do you imagine that the Romans have as much 
courage in war as wantonness in peace ? It is our 
dissensions and feuds that bring them fame : their 
enemy's mistake becomes their army's glory. That 
army, gathered from races widely separate, is held 
together only by success, and will melt away with 
defeat : unless you suppose that Gauls and Germans, 
and even — to their shame be it spoken — many of the 
tribes of Britain, who lend their blood to an alien 


alienae sanguinem commodciit, diutius tamen hostes 
quam servos, fide et adfectu teneri putatis. metus ac 
terror sunt infirma vincla caritatis; quae ubi removeris, 
qui timere desierint, odisse inci{)ient. omnia victoriae 
incitamenta pro nobis sunt : nullae Ronianos coniuges 
aecendunt, nulli parentes fugam exprobraturi sunt ; 
aut nulla plerisque patria aut alia est. paucos 
numero, trej)idos ignorantia, caelum ipsum ac mare 
et silvas, ignota omnia circum spectantes, clauses 
quodam modo ac vinctos di nobis tradiderunt. ne 
terreat vanus aspectus et auri fulgor atque argenti, 
quod neque tegit neque vulnerat. in ipsa hostium 
acie inveniemus nostras manus. adgnoscent Britanni 
suam causam, recordabuntur Galli priorem liber- 
tatem : deserent illos ceteri Germani, tarn quam nuper 
Usipi reliquerunt. nee quicquam ultra formidinis : 
vacua castella, senum coloniae, inter male parentes et 
iniuste imperantes aegra municipia et discordantia. 
hie dux, hie exercitus : ibi tributa et metalla et 
ceterae servientium poenae, quas in aeternum per- 
ferre aut statim ulcisci in hoc campo est. proinde 
ituri in aciem et maiores vestros et posteros cogi- 
33 Excepere orationem alacres, ut barbaris moris, cantu 
fremituque et clamoribus dissonis. iamque agmina et 
armorum fulgores audentissimi cuiusque procursu : 
simul instruebatur acies, cum Agricola quamquam 


tyranny, of Avhich they have been enemies for more 
years than slaves, are attached to Rome by loyalty 
and liking. Fear and panic are sorry bonds of love : 
put these away^ and they who have ceased to fear 
will begin to hate. Every spur to victory makes for 
our victory : there are no wives to inspire the RomanSj 
no parents to reproach the runaway : most of them 
have no country or another land than this. Few in 
numbers, uneasy in their novel quarters, all that they 
see around them, the very sky and sea, strange to 
their eyes — the gods have delivered them into our 
hands as though they were caged prisoners. The 
empty terrors of the eye, the gleam of gold and silver, 
have neither help in them nor hurt. In the enemy's 
own battle-line we shall find hands to help us : the 
Britons will recognise that our cause is theirs : the 
Gauls will remember their former freedom : the rest 
of the Germans will desert them, as the Usipi 
deserted recently ; and beyond these there is nothing 
to fear : empty forts, plantations of veterans, and 
settlements of low vitality and divided will, made up of 
ill-affected subjects and unjust rulers. Here you have 
a general and an army ; on the other side lies tribute, 
labour in the mines, and all the other pangs of slavery. 
You have it in your power to perpetuate 3'our sufferings 
for ever or to avenge them to-day upon this field : 
therefore, before you go into action, think upon your 
ancestors and upon your children." 

They received his speech excitedly, after the 
manner of barbarians, with singing and shouting 
and uproar of various kinds : then followed the 
marshalling of hosts and the glitter of arms, as the 
bravest came to the front. No sooner was the line 
of battle in process of formation than Agricola, 
thinking that his soldiery, though exultant and with 

laetum et vix munimentis coercitum militem accen- 
dendum adhuc ratus, ita disseruit : 

" Septimus annus est, commilitones, ex quo virtute 
vestra^auspiciis imperii Romani^fide atque opera nostra 
Britanniam vicistis. tot expeditionibus, tot proeliis, 
seu fortitudine adversus hostis seu patientia aclabore 
paene adversus ipsam rerum naturam opus fuit, neque 
me militum neque vos ducis paenituit. ergo egressi, 
ego veterum legatorum, vos prioruin exercituum 
terminos, finem Britanniae non fama nee rumore, 
sed castris et armis tenemus : inventa Britannia et 
subaeta. equidem saepe in agmine, cum vos paludes 
montesve et flumina fatigarent, fortissimi cuiusque 
voces audiebam : ' quando dabitur hostis, quando 
acies ? ' veniunt, e latebris suis extrusi, et vota 
virtusque in aperto, omniaque prona victoribus atque 
eadem victis adversa. nam ut superasse tantum 
itineris, silvas evasisse, transisse aestuaria pulchrum 
ac decorum in frontem, ita fugientibus periculosissima 
quae hodie prosperrima sunt ; neque enim nobis aut 
locorum eadem notitia aut commeatuum eadem 
abundantia, sed manus et arma et in his omnia, 
quod ad me attinet, iam pridem mihi decretum est 
neque exercitus neque ducis terga tuta esse, proinde 
et honesta mors turpi vita potior, et incolumitas ac 


difficulty held in leash behind their fortifications, 
ought to receive yet further inspiration, spoke as 
follows : 

"This is the seventh year, fellow-soldiers, since 
first your courage, Rome's star, and my care and zeal 
have been victorious in Britain. In all these cam- 
paigns and on these battlefields, whether resolution 
was required against the enemy or patience and 
hard work against Nature herself, I have had nothing 
to regret in my soldiers, or 30U in your general. 
Accordingly we have out-distanced, I previous 
governors, you previous armies : to-day our know- 
ledge of Britain's boundaries rests not on hearsay 
and report, but on armed occupation : we have both 
discovered and subdued Britain. 

" Often on the march, when swamp, mountain, 
and river were a weariness, I overheard the exclama- 
tions of your bravest, ' When will the enemy be 
delivered into our hands.'' When will the battle 
be .'' ' They are coming : they have been dragged from 
their coverts ; there is nothing now to bar your 
prayers and prowess. Victory ! and the stream is 
with you. Defeat ! and difficulties are everywhere. 
To have covered so much ground, to have passed the 
forests, to have forded the estuaries, is honour and 
glory to an army advancing ; but our successes of 
to-day become the w^orst of perils in retreat : we have 
not the same knowledge of locality, we have not the 
same abundance of supplies ; we have but our hands 
and swords, and therein we have everything. As 
for myself, I have long ago reached the conviction 
that retreat is fatal both to army and to general : 
therefore not only is honourable death always better 
than life dishonoured, but in our special case safety 
and honour lie along the same road ; nor would it be 



deciis eodem loco sita sunt ; nee inglorium fuerit in 
ipso terrarura ac naturae fine cecidisse. 

34 " Si novae gentes atque ignota acies eonstitisset, 
aliorum exercituum exemplis vos hortarer: nunc vestra 
decora recensete^ vestros oculos interrogate, hi sunt, 
quos proximo anno unam legionem furto noctis ad- 
gressos clamore debellastis ; hi ceterorum Britan- 
norum fugacissimi ideoque tarn diu superstites. quo 
niodo silvas saltusque penetrantibus fortissimum 
quodque animal contra ruere, pavida et inertia ipso 
agminis sono pellebantur, sic acerrimi Britannorum 
iam pridem ceciderunt, reliquus est numerus igna- 
vorum et metuentium. quos quod tandem invenistis, 
non restiterunt, sed deprehensi sunt ; novissimae res 
et extremus metus corpora defixere in his ^ vestigiis, 
in quibus pulchramet spectabilem victoriam ederetis. 
transigite cum expeditionibus, imponite quinquaginta 
annis magnum diem, adprobate rei publicae num- 
quam exercitui imputari potuisse aut moras belli aut 
causas rebellandi." 

35 Et adloquente adhuc Agricola militum ardor emine- 
bat, et finem oi-ationis ingens alacritas consecuta est, 
statimque ad arma discursum. instinctos ruentesque 
ita disposuit, ut peditum auxilia, quae octo milium 
erant, mediam aciem firmarent, equitum tria milia 
cornibus adfunderentur. legiones pro vallo stetere, 

1 extremus metus corpora defixere in his, P.; extreme metu 
torpor defixere aciem in his, H. 



inglorious to fall at the world's edge and Nature's 

"■ If it were unknown tribes and a novel battle-line 
that confronted you^ I would encoui-age you with the 
precedents of other armies : as it is, you have only to 
rehearse your own achievements and question your 
own eyes. These are the men who last year under 
cover of night attacked a single legion and were 
beaten by a shout : these are the most fugitive of the 
other tribes of Britain, for which reason they have 
survived so long. When you pierced the thickets and 
glens, the bravest beasts used to rush to meet you ; 
the timid and spiritless were dislodged by the mere 
stir of your march. Even so the keenest of the Britons 
have long since fallen ; there is left only the flock of 
cowards and shirkers. That you have found them at 
last is not because they have turned ; they have been 
overtaken : desperation and supreme panic have 
paralysed them here in their lines, for you to Avin a 
glorious and spectacular victory. Make an end here 
of your campaignings : crown fifty years' work with 
a day of glory : prove to the state that the army has 
never been to blame if the war has dragged and has 
given to rebels their opportunity." 

Even while Agricola was still speaking the enthu- 
siasm of his men gave voice, and the close of his speech 
was followed by wild excitement, and they broke up 
at once to take their place for battle. 

He drew up his enraptured and straining lines so 
that the detachments of provincial infantry, which 
amounted to eight thousand men, made a strong 
centre, while the three thousand cavalry cii'cled round 
the wings ; the Roman legionaries themselves were 



ingens victoriae decus citra Romaiium sanguinem bel- 

lanti/ et auxilium^ si pellerentur. Britannorum acies 

in speciem simul ac terrorem editioribus locis coiisti- 

terat ita, ut primum agmen in aequo, ceteri per ad- 

clive iugum conexi velut insurgerent ; media campi 

covinnarius eques strepitu ac discursu complebat. tuni 

Agricola superante hostium multitudine verituS; ne in 

frontem simul et latera suorum pugnaretur^ diductis 

ordinibus, quamquam porrectior acies futura erat et 

arcessendas plerique legiones admonebant, promptior 

in speiii et firmus adversis, dimisso equo pedes ante 

vexilla constitit. 

S6 Ac primo congressu eminus certabatur ; simulque 

constantia, simul arte Britanni ingentibus gladiis et 

brevibus caetris missilia nostrorum vitare vel excutere, 

atque ipsi magnam vim telorum superfundere, donee 

Agricola Batavorum cohortes ac Tungrorum duas co- 

hortatus est, ut rem ad mucrones ac manus adduce- 

rent ; quod et ipsis vetustate militiae exercitatum et 

hostibus inhabile, parva scuta et enormes gladios 

gerentibus ; nam Britannorum gladii sine mucrone 

complexum armorum et in arto pugnam non tolera- 

bant. igitur ut Batavi miscere ictus, ferire umbonibus, 

1 bellanti,^.; bellandi.i?. 


posted in front of the palisade, to be a signal distinc- 
tion for the conqueror if he fought without expending 
Roman blood, and a reinforcement if the others were 

The British line, in order to be at once impressive 
and alarming, was drawn up on higher ground, in such 
a way that the front rank was on the level, while the 
rest, on a gentle slope, seemed to be towering higher 
and higher ; the war-chariots, noisily manoeuvring, 
filled the intervening plain. 

Then, because the enemy's numbers were superior, 
Agricola, fearing to be assailed simultaneously in front 
and on the flanks, opened out his ranks, although his 
line was bound to become thereby too long propor- 
tionately, and most of his staff warned him to call up 
the legions ; but he was more sanguine than they and 
deaf to all prophecies of ill ; he sent away his horse 
and took up his position on foot in front of the pro- 

The battle began with fighting at long range ; the 
Britons, with their long swox'ds and short targets, 
showed courage alike and skill in evading or brushing 
aside the Roman missiles, while on their own side 
they launched dense volleys of spears ; until Agricola 
exhorted the two battalions of Batavi and Tungri to 
bring things to the sword's point and to hand-to-hand 
fighting ; a manoeuvre familiar to them from long ser- 
vice and embarrassing to the enemy, whose shields 
were short and swords too long ; for the British swords, 
without points, did not admit of locked lines and fight- 
ing at close quarters. Accordingly when the Batavi 
began to exchange blows hand to hand, to strike with 
the bosses of their shields, to stab in the face, and, 
after cutting down the enemy on the level, to push 



ora fodere, et stratis qui in aequo adstiterant, erigere 
in colles acieni coepere, ceterae cohortes aemulatione 
et impetu conisae proxinios quosque caedere : ae ple- 
rique semineces aut integri festinatione victoriae 
relinquebantur. interim equitum turmae, id fugere 
covinnarii, pedituni se proelio miscuere. et quaniquam 
recentem terrorem intulerant, densis tamen hostium 
agminibus et inaequalibus locis haerebant ; minimeque 
aequa nostris iam pugnae facies erat, cum aegreclivo 
instantes simul^ equorum corporibus impellerentur ; ac 
saepe vagi currus^ exterriti sine rectoribus equi, ut 
quemque formido tulerat, transversos aut obvios 
37 Et Britanni, qui adhuc pugnae expertes summa 
eollium insederant et paucitatem nostrorum vacui 
spernebant^ degredi paulatim et circumire terga vin- 
centium coeperant, ni id ipsum veritus Agricola quat- 
tuor equitum alas, ad subita belli retentas, venientibus 
opposuisset, quantoque ferocius adeucurrerantj tanto 
acrius pulsos in fugam disiecisset. ita consilium Bri- 
tannorum in ipsos versum, transvectaeque pvaecepto 
ducis a fronte pugnantium alae aversam hostium aciem 
invasere. turn vero patentibus locis grande et atrox 

1 minimeque . . . adstautes simul, H.] minimeque 
equestris ei pugnae facies erat cum egra f diu aut stante 
simul, F. 



their line uphill, the other battalions, exerting them- 
selves to emulate their charge, proceeded to slaughter 
the nearest enemies ; in their haste to snatch victory 
they left many behind them only half-killed, or even 

Meanwhile, the squadrons of cavalry, when the 
chariots fled, took a hand in the infantry battle. And 
here, though they had just previously swept all before 
them in panic, they found themselves embarrassed by 
the close ranks of the enemy and the unevenness of 
the ground ; and the new aspect of the fight was by 
no means to our advantage, since our men with a foot- 
ing on the hill-side, at best precarious, were now dis- 
lodged by the impact of the horses of their own 
cavalry ; repeatedly also straggling chariots, the horses 
terror-stricken and driverless, at the casual prompting 
of panic made oblique or frontal charges. 

Meanwhile, such of the Britons as had occupied 
the hill-tops, still unreached by the fighting and with 
leisure to deride the small numbers of our men, had 
begun, little by little, to descend and to surround the 
flanks of the conquering army ; had not Agricola, in 
fear of this very contingency, thrown across their path 
four squadrons of cavalry which he had held back 
against the surprises of battle ; the enemy were routed 
and dislodged with a fury proportionate to the con- 
fidence of their advance. 

Thus the British strategy was turned against them- 
selves, for the squadrons passed over by the general's 
order from the front of the battle and attacked the 
enemy's line from behind ; after this, wherever the 
open ground permitted, began a grand and gory drama 



spectaculum : sequi, vulnerare, capere, atque eostlem 
oblatis aliis trucidare. iam hostium, prout ciiique in- 
genium erat, catervae armatorum paucioribus terga 
praestare^ quidam ineniies ultro ruere ac se morti 
offerre. passim arma et corpora et laceri artus et 
cruenta humus ; et aliquando etiam victis ira virtus- 
que. postquam silvis appropinquaverunt, idem primos 
sequentium incautos eollecti et locorum gnari circum- 
veniebant. quod ni frequens ubique Agricola validas 
et expeditas cohortes indaginis modo^ et sicubi artiora 
erant, partem equitum dimissis equis, simul rariores 
silvas equitem perscrutari iussisset^ acceptum aliquod 
vulnus per nimiam fiduciam foret. ceterum ubi com- 
positos firmis ordinibus sequi rursus videre, in fugam 
versi, non agminibus, ut prius, nee alius alium re- 
speetantes, rari et vitabundi in vicem longinqua 
atque avia petiere. finis sequendi nox et satietas fuit. 
caesa hostium ad decern milia : nostrorum trecenti 
sexaginta cecidere, in quis Aulus Atticus praefectus 
cohortis, iuvenili ardore et ferocia equi hostibus 
38 Et nox quidem gaudio praedaque laeta victoribus : 
Britanni palantes mixtoque virorum mulierumque 
ploratu trahere vulneratos, vocare integros, deserere 
domos ac per iram ultro incendere, eligere latebras 



of pursuit^ wounds^ capture, and then — as other fugi- 
tives crossed the path — of butcliery for the captive ; 
the enemy either fled now in armed hordes before 
smaller numbers, or, in some cases, according to the 
differences of temperament, voluntarily charged even 
unarmed, and made an offering ol their lives. Every- 
where were weapons, corpses, lopped limbs, and blood 
upon the ground ; but sometimes even in the routed 
was found the courage of resentment. For as they 
approached the forest they rallied, and knowing their 
ground began to surround the foremost and the most 
reckless among their pursuers. Had not Agricola been 
everywhere with strong and light-armed battalions 
to net the woods, so to speak, and, where they were 
thicker, to dismount his hoi'semen, where thinner, 
to send his horsemen through, undue confidence 
might have provoked a serious reverse. 

Be that as it may, when they saw the pursuit again 
taken up by an array of unbroken ranks, they broke, 
and no longer in companies as before, nor with thought 
for one another, but, scattering and with mutual avoid- 
ance, made for distant fastnesses. Night and satiety 
ended the pursuit. 

The enemy's slain amounted to ten thousand men ; 
on our side fell three hundred and sixty, among them 
Aulus Atticus, the commander of a battalion, whom 
youthful ardour and a spirited horse carried into the 
enemy's lines. 

Night was jubilant with triumph and plunder for 
the victors : the Britons, scattering amid the mingled 
lamentations of men and women, began to drag away 
their wounded, to summon the unhurt, to abandon 
their homes, and even, in their resentment, to set fire 
to them with their own hands. They selected hiding- 
places and as quickly renounced them : they took 



et statim relinquere ; miscere in vicem consilia 
aliqua^ dein separare ; aliquando frangi aspectu pig- 
norum suorum, saepius concitari. satisque constabat 
saevisse quosdam in coniuges ac liberoSj tamquam 
niisererentur. proximus dies faciem victoriae latius 
aperuit : vastum ubique silentium, deserti colles, 
fumantia procul tecta, nemo exploratoribus obvius. 
quibus in omnem partem dimissis, ubi incerta fugae 
vestigia neque usquam eonglobari hostes compertum 
(et exaeta iam aestate spargi bellum neqiiibat), in 
fines Borestorum exercitum deducit. ibi acceptis 
obsidibus, praefecto classis circumvehi Britanniara 
praecipit. datae ad id vires, et praecesserat terror, 
ipse peditem atque equites lento itinere, quo novarum 
gentium animi ipsa transitus mora terrerentur, in 
hibernis locavit. et simul classis secunda tempestate 
ac fama Trucculensem portum tenuit, unde proximo 
Britanniae litore lecto omni redierat.^ 
39 Hunc rerum cursum, quamquam nulla verborum 
iactantia epistulis Agrieolae auctum, ut Domitiano 
moris erat, fronte laetus, pectore anxius excepit. 
inerat conscientia derisui fuisse nuper falsum e Ger- 
mania triumphum, emptis per commercia, quorum 

, 1 untie proximo Britanuiae litore lecto omni redierat, F.; 
unde proximo anno, Britanniae litore lecto omni, reditura 
erat, H. 



some counsel togetlier, and then acted separately : 
sometimes they broke down at the spectacle of tlieir 
loved ones, more often it excited them ; it was 
credibly reported that some of them laid violent 
hands upon wives and children, as it were in pity. 
The morrow revealed more widely the features of 
the victory : everywhere was dismal silence, lonely 
hills, houses smoking to heaven. His scouts met no 
one : he sent them in all directions, only to find that 
the traces of the fugitives pointed nowhere in par- 
ticular, and that the enemy were nowhere uniting ; 
accordingly, since the war could not take a wider 
range at the end of summer, he led back his troops 
to the territory of the Boresti. From them he took 
hostages, and gave orders to the commander of his 
fleet to circumnavigate ^ Britain ; his equipment was 
strengthened for the purpose, and panic already had 
heralded the voyage. He himself marched slowly 
in order that the very leisureliness of his passage 
might strike terror into the hearts of these new 
tribes, until he lodged his infantry and cavalry in 
their winter quarters. Simultaneously the fleet, 
with weather and prestige alike propitious, gained 
the harbour of Trucculum,^ whence it had started its 
coasting voyage along the whole length of the ad- 
jacent shore, ^ and to which it now had returned. 

This series of achievements, though magnified by 
no boastfulness of language in Agricola's despatches, 
Domitian greeted, as his manner was, with aff'ected 
pleasure and secret disquiet : in his heart was the 
consciousness that his recent counterfeit triumph 
over the Germans was a laughing-stock : he had in 

1 See Appendix IV, p. 343. 

2 See Introduction, pp. l.ofi-?. 

3 See Appendix IV, p. 3i4. 



habitus et crines in captivorum speciem formarentur : 
at nunc veram magnamque victoriani tot milibus 
hostium caesis ingenti fama celebrari. id sibi maxime 
formidolosum, privati hominis nomen supra principis 
attolli : frustra studia fori et civilium artium decus in 
silentium acta, si militarem gloriam alius occuparet ; 
cetera uteumque facilius dissimulari, ducis boni im- 
peratoriam virtutem esse, talibus curis exercitus, 
quodque saevae cogitationis indicium erat, secreto 
suo satiatus, optimum in praesentia statuit reponere 
odium, donee impetus famae et favor exercitus 
languesceret : nam etiam turn Agricola Britanniam 
40 Igitur triumphalia ornamenta et inlustris statuae 
honorem et quidquid pro triumpho datur, multo 
verborum honore cumulata, decerni in senatu iubet 
addique insuper opinionem, Suriam provinciam 
Agricolae destinari, vacuam tum morte Atilii Rufi 
consularis et maioi-ibus reservatam. credidere pleri. 
que libei'tum ex secretioribus ministeriis missum ad 
Agricolam codicillos, quibus ei Suria dabatur, tulisse, I 
cum praecepto ut, si in Britannia foret, traderentur ; 
eumque libertum in ipso freto Oceani obvium 
Agricolae, ne appellate quidem eo ad Domitianum 
remeasse, sive verum istud, sive ex ingenio principis 
fictum ac compositum est. tradiderat interim Agri- 



fact purchased, in the May of trade, pei'sons whose 
clotlies and coiffure could be adapted to the guise of 

But liere was a veritable, a decisive victory, with 
enemies slain in thousands, widely canvassed and 
advertised : this was what he dreaded most, that 
the name of a commoner should be exalted above 
his Prince : it was all in vain that the practice of 
j>ublic speaking and the glamour of the arts of peace 
had been silenced, if another was to usurp military 
glory. Besides, while to everything else he could 
be blind, the qualities of a good general were Im- 
perial qualities : harassed with these anxieties, and 
wholly absorbed in his seci'et — a symptom that 
murderous schemes were afoot — he decided that it 
was best for the present to put his hatred in cold 
storage until the first burst of popularity and the 
applause of the army should die down ; for Agricola 
was still master of Britain. 

Accordingly, he directs that triumphal decorations, 
the honour of a complimentary statue, and the other 
substitutes for triumph usually accorded, enhanced 
with many fine phrases, be voted in the Senate ; and 
that a hint should be added that the province of 
Syria was being set aside for Agricola : it had been 
vacated by the death of the consular Atilius Rufus, 
and was reserved for notable personages. 

It was generally believed that a freedman of the 
inner circle of agents had been sent to Agricola with 
despatches in which Syria was offered him, with 
instructions to deliver his message should Agricola be 
in Britain ; and that this freedman, meeting Agricola 
actually in the Channel, returned to Domitian without 
even accosting him. Possibly it was true : possibly 
a fiction suggested by the Imperial temperament. 



cola successori suo provinciam quietam tutamque. 
ac ne notabilis celebritate et frequentia occurrentium 
introitus esset, vitato amicorum officio noctu in urbem, 
noctii in Palatium^ ita ut praeceptum erat, venit ; 
exceptusque brevi osculo et nullo sermone turbae 
servientium inmixtus est. ceterum uti militare 
nomen, grave inter otiosos, aliis virtutibus temper- 
aret, tranquillitatem atque otium penitus hausit, 
cultu modicus^ sermone facilis^ uno aut altero ami- 
corum comitatuSj adeo uti plerique, quibus magnos 
viros per ambitionem aestimare mos est, viso aspecto- 
que Agricola quaererent famam, pauci interpre- 
^2 Crebi'o per eos dies apud Domitianum absens ac- 
cusatus, absens absolutus est. causa periculi non 
crimen ullum aut querela laesi cuiusquam. sed infensus 
virtutibus princeps et gloria viri ac pessimum inimi- 
corum genus, laudantes. et ea insecuta sunt rei 
publicae tempora, quae sileri Agricolam non sinerent : 
tot exercitus in Moesia Daciaque et Germania et 
Pannonia temeritate aut per ignaviam ducum amissi, 
tot mili tares viri cum tot cohortibus expugnati et 
capti ; nee iam de limite imperii et ripa, sed de hibernis 
legionum et possessione dubitatum. ita cum datnna 
damnis continuarentur atque omnis annus funeribus 
et cladibus insigniretur, poscebatur ore vulgi dux 
Agricola, comparantibus cunctis vigorem et constan- 


Meanwhile Agricola had handed over a peaceful 
and safe province to his successor : and in order that 
his entrance into the city might not excite note by 
the concourse and bustle of a reception, he eluded 
the demonstrations of his friends, arrived by night, 
and by night repaired to the palace, in accordance 
with instructions. With the greeting of a hasty kiss, 
and without conversation, he slipped away into the 
obsequious mob. For the rest, in order that he 
might mitigate by other qualities the offence — to a 
society of triflers — of a soldier's fame, he drank the 
cup of peace and idleness to the dregs : his dress was 
unassuming, he was willing to talk, one or two friends 
only attended him ; so that the world, whose custom 
it is to judge great men by their parade, after seeing 
and watching Agricola, missed his distinction and few 
deciphered it. 

Not once only during those days was he accused to 
Domitian behind his back, and behind his back 
acquitted. There was no indictment to account for 
his danger, no complaint from any victim of wrong- 
doing : merely an Emperor unfriendly to high 
qualities : merely the glory of the man, and those 
worst of enemies, the people who pi-aise you. There 
followed in fact national vicissitudes, such as did not 
permit Agricola to be ignored : numerous ai*mies in 
Moesia, Dacia, Germany, and Pannonia lost by the 
rashness or supineness of their generals ; numerous 
officers with numerous battalions stormed and cap- 
tured. Anxiety hinged already not on the river's 
bank which was the Empire's frontier, but on the 
possession of the legions' winter quarters. Accord- 
ingly, when loss was added to loss, and every year 
was signalised with death and disaster, the voice of 
the people began to ask for Agricola's generalship : 
g 241 


tiam et expertum bellis animum cum inertia et for- 
midine ceterorum. quibus * sermonibus satis constat 
Domitiani quoque aures verberatas, dum optimus 
quisque libertorum amore et fide, pessimi malignitate 
et livore pronum deterioribus principem exstimula- 
bant. sic Agricola simul suis virtutibus, simul vitiis 
aliorum in ipsam gloriam praeceps agebatur. 
42 Aderat iam annus, quo proconsulatum Africae et 
Asiae sortiretur, et occiso Civica nuper nee Agricolae 
consilium deerat nee Domitiano exemplum, accessere 
quidam cogitationum principis periti, qui iturusne 
asset in provinciam ultro Agricolam interrogarent. 
ac primo occultius quietem et otium laudare, mox 
operam suam in adprobanda excusatione ofFerre, pos- 
tremo non iam obscuri suadentes simul terrentesque 
pertraxere ad Domitianum. qui paratus simulatione, 
in adrogantiam compositus, etaudiit preces excusantis 
et, cum adnuisset, agi sibi gratias passus est, nee eru- 
buit beneficii invidia. salarium tamen proconsuli 
consulari ^ solitum ofFerri et quibusdam a se ipso con- 
cessum Agricolae non dedit, sive offensus non petitum^ 
sive ex conscientia, ne quod vetuerat videretur emisse. 

1 foi'midine ceterprum. quibus, F. ; formidine eorum quibus 
exercitus committi solerent. quibus, H. 

2 proconsuli consulari, F.\ procousulare, H. 



every one compared his firmness, energy, and ex- 
perience with the lethargy and panic of the rest. 
All of which gossip, it is certain, beat upon the ears 
of Domitian no less than of other men, the best of his 
freedmen seeking from love and loyalty, the worst 
from malice and jealousy, to stir the emotions of a 
master who leaned ever to the worst side. Thus was 
Agricola pushed headlong even up the steep hill of 
gloi'y ^ both by his own qualities and by the defects 
of others. 

The year was now at hand for him to draw lots 
between the governorship of Africa and Asia ; but 
Civica had just been executed, and Agricola's discre- 
tion was as ready as the Emperor's pi'ecedents. He 
was approached by certain confidants of the Imperial 
mind, who were to ask of their own motion whether 
he would take a province Their first step showed 
some finesse. They extolled peace and quiet : a little 
while and they were offering their own services to 
second-his excuse : finally, forgoing further mystery, 
they dragged him to Domitian with mingled advice 
and warning. The Emperor with ready hypocrisy 
assumed a pompous air, listened to the petition " to 
be excused," granted it, and permitted himself to be 
thanked therefor : the sinister favour brought him no 
blushes. As for the salary, however, usually offered 
to a proconsul of consular rank, and in some cases 
conceded by the Emperor's personal intervention, 
he did not give it to Agricola : either he was 
offended that it was not asked for, or he was self- 
conscious, and did not wish it to appear that he had 

^ If in ipsam gloriam be correct, Tacitus me<ans that few 
reach glor)', aad they, as a rule, slowly. Agricola, however, 
was " rushed " into it. 


proprium humani ingenii est odisse quem laeseris : 
Domitiani vero natura praeceps in iram, et quo 
obscurior, eo inrevocabilior^ moderatione tamen pru- 
dentiaque Agi'icolae leniebatur, quia non contumacia 
neque inani iactatione libertatis famam fatumque 
jirovocabat. sciant^ quibus moris est inlicita mirari, 
posse etiam sub malis principibus niagnos vii'os esse^ 
obsequiumque ac modestiam, si industria ac vigor 
adsint, eo laudis escendere^ quo plerique per abrupta^ 
sed in nullum rei publicae usum^ ambitiosa morte 
43 Finis vitae eius nobis luctuosus, amicis tristis^ ex- 
traneis etiam ignotisque non sine cura fuit. vulgus 
quoque et hie aliud agens populus et ventitavere ad 
domum et per fora et circulos locuti sunt ; nee quis- 
quam audita morte Agricolae aut laetatus est aut 
statim oblitus. augebat miserationem constans rumor 
veneno interceptum : nobis nihil comperti, adfirmare 
ut ausim. ceterum per omnem valetudinem eius 
crebrius quam ex more prineipatus, per nuntios 
visentis et libertorum primi et medicorum intimi 
venere, sive cura illud sive inquisitio erat. supremo 
quidem die momenta ipsa deficientis per dispositos 

1 See Introduction, p. 159. 


purchased the decision, which was really due to his 
own prohibition. 

It is a principle of human nature to hate those 
whom you have injured : nevertheless Domitian, 
though by nature of a violent temper and unrelenting 
in proportion to his secretiveness, was pacified by 
the moderation and discretion of Agricola, in whona 
was no insurgency, no fatuous parade of inde- 
pendence, to invite tattle and tragedy.^ 

Let those whose way it is to admire only things 
forbidden learn from him that great men can live 
even under bad rulers ; and that submission and 
moderation, if animation and energy go with them, 
reach the same pinnacle of fame, whither more often 
men have climbed, with no profit to the state, by the 
steep path of a pretentious death. ^ 

The end of his life brought mourning to us, melan- 
choly to his friends, solicitude even to the bystander 
and those who knew him not; the great public itself 
and this busy, preoccupied city came repeatedly to his 
doors, and talked of him in public gatherings and 
private circles. No one, on hearing of Agricola's 
death, was glad, nor — at once — forgetful. Commisera- 
tion was enhanced by the persistent rumour that he 
had been put out of the way by poison. I have no 
evidence on which to venture an assertion. 

However it be, throughout his illness came the 
chief freedmen and the confidential physicians of the 
Palace with a regularity unusual in a prince who visits 
by deputy, whether this was interest or espionage. 

When the end came, every flicker of the failing 
life, it was well known, was chronicled by relays of 

2 Tacitus' regard for Stoicism is tempered with the reflection 
that the army of martyrs includes, if some noble spirits, many 
more banal and blatant persons. See also Introduction, p. 152. 


cursores nuntiata constabat, nullo credente sic ad- 
celerari quae tristis audiret. speciem tamen doloris 
animi vultu ^ prae se tulit, secunis iam odii et 
qui facilius dissimularet gaudiuni quani metum. 
satis constabat lecto testamento Agricolae, quo cohe- 
redem optimae uxori et piissimae filiae Doinitianum 
scripsit, laetatum eum velut honore iudicioque. tam 
caeca et corrupta mens assiduis adulationibus erat, ut 
nesciret a bono patre non scribi heredem nisi malum 
44- Natus erat Agricola Gaio Caesare tertium consule 
idibus luniis : excessit quarto et quinquagesimo anno, 
decumo kalendas Septembris Collega Priscoque con- 
sulibus. quod si habitum quoque eius posted noscere 
velint^decentior quam sublimior fuit; nihil impetus ^ in 
vultu : gratia oris supererat. bonum virum facile cre- 
deres, magnum libenter. et ipse quidem, quamquam 
medio in spatio integrae aetatis ereptus, quantum ad 
gloriam, longissimum aevum peregit. quippe et vera 
bona, quae in virtutibus sita sunt, impleverat, et consu- 
. lari actriumphalibus ornamentispraeditoquid aliudad- 
struere fortuna poterat ? opibus nimiis non gaudebat, 
speciosae non contigerant.^ filia atque uxore super- 
stitibus potest videri etiam beatus incolumi dignitate, 

1 doloris animi vultu, F. ; doloris habitu vultuque, H. 

2 impetus, F. ; metus, //, 

3 speciosae non contigerant, F. ; speciosae contigerant, U. 



runners, and no one believed that men so grasp at 
news in order to regret the hearing. Yet in his face 
he paraded the semblance of a sorrowing heart ; his 
hate was now no longer anxious, and it was his tem- 
perament to hide joy more easily than fear. It was 
well ascertained that on reading the will of Agricola, 
which named Domitian co-heir with the best of wives, 
the most dutiful of daughters, he exulted as in a 
vei'dict of honourable acquittal. So blinded, so per- 
verted was his intelligence by unremitting flattery 
that he did not see that it is the bad pi-ince who is 
made heir by good fathers. 

Agricola was born on the 13th of June, in the thii-d 
consulship of Gains Caesar ; he died in his fifty-fourth 
year on the 23rd of August, in the consulship of 
Collega and Priscus. 

Should posterity desire to learn his mere appear- 
ance, he was well-proportioned rather than imposing. 
There was no irritability in his face ; its dominant 
expression was benign. You could easily credit him 
with goodness, and be glad to think him great. As 
for the man himself, though snatched away in the 
mid-career of his prime, he lived to a ripe old age 
measured by renown. The true blessings of life 
which lie in character he had fulfilled. What more 
could fortune have added to one who bad been consul, 
and had worn the decorations of triumph } Excessive 
wealth gave him no pleasure ; even the wealth which 
makes a show had never been his. With daughter 
and wife surviving him, he may even pass for happy 
to have escaped what was to come with his position 



florente fama, salvis adfinitatibus et amicitiis futura 
efFugisse. nam sicut iuvaret durare ^ in banc beatissimi 
saeculi hicem ac principem Traianum videre, quod 
augurio votisque apud nostras auris ominabatur, ita 
festinatae mortis grande solacium tulit evasisse pos- 
tremum illud tempus, quo Domitianus non iam per 
intervalla ac spiramenta temporum, sed continuo et 
velut uno ictu rem publicam exhausit. 
45 Non vidit Agricola obsessam curiam et clausum 
armis senatum et eadem strage tot consularium caedes, 
tot nobiHssimarum feminarum exilia et fugas. una 
adhuc victoria Carus Metius censebatm% et intra Al- 
banam arcem sententia Messalini strepebat, et Massa 
Baebius tum reus erat: mox nostrae duxere Helvidium 
in careerem manus ; nos Mauricum Rusticumque 
divisimus," nos innocenti sanguine Senecio perfudit. 
Nero tamen subtraxit oculos suos iussitque scelera^ 
non spectavit : praecipua sub Domitiano miseriarum 
pars erat videre et aspici, cum suspiria nostra sub- 
scriberentur, cum denotandis tot hominum palloribus 
sufficeret saevus ille vultus et rubor, quo se contra 
pudorem muniebat. 

Tu vero felix, Agricola, non vitae tantum claritate, 
sed etiam opportunitate mortis, ut perhibent qui 

1 sicut iuvaret durare, Midler ; sicut ei non licuit durare, H. ; 
sicut * * * durare, F. 

2 nos Mauricum Eusticumque divisimus, V^, F. (see Intro- 
duction, p. 149) ; nos Maurici Rusticique visus, H. 



unimpaired, his reputation brilliant, his friends and 
kin safe. 

For though it vrould have suited him to survive to 
the light of this happy age, and to see Trajan ruling 
— a consummation which he prognosticated in our 
hearing alike in prayer and prophecy — yet he reaped 
a great compensation for his premature death, in 
escaping those last days wherein Domitian no longer 
fitfully and with breathing spaces, but with one con- 
tinuous and, so to speak, single blow, poured forth 
the life-blood of the state. 

It was not his fate to see the Senate-house be- 
sieged, the Senate surrounded by armed men, and in 
the same reign of terror so many consulars butchered, 
the flight and exile of so many honourable women. 
Metius Carus was still rated at one victory only ; 
Messalinus' rasping voice was confined to the Alban 
council-chamber ; and Baebius Massa was at that time 
in prison. A little while and our hands it was which 
di'agged Helvidius to his dungeon ; we it was who put 
asunder 1 Mauricus and Rusticus ; Senecio bathed 
us in his unoffending blood. Nero after all with- 
drew his eyes, nor contemplated the crimes he 
authorised. Under Domitian it was no small part 
of our sufferings that we saw him and were seen 
of him ; that our sighs wei*e counted in his books ; 
that not a pale cheek of all that company escaped 
those brutal eyes, that crimson face which flushed 
continually lest shame should unawares surprise it.^ 

Happy your fate, Agricola I happy not only in the 
lustre of your life, but in a timely death. As they tell 

1 Vide Introduction, p. 149. 

2 Domitian enjoyed the advantage of a recurrent and 
physical rush of blood to the face, which saved him from the 
blushes of the spirit. 



interfuerunt novissimis sermonibus tiiis^ constans et 
liljcns fatum excepisti, tamquam pro virili portione 
innocentiam principi donares. seel mihi filiaeque tuae 
praeter acerbitatem parentis erepti auget maestitiam, 
quod adsidere valetudini, fovere deficientem, satiari 
vultu complexuque noii contigit. excepissemus certe 
mandata vocesque, quas penitus animo figeremus. 
noster liic dolor, nostrum viihius, nobis tarn longae 
absentiae condicione ante quadriennium amissus es. 
omnia sine dubio, optime parentum. adsidente aman- 
tissima uxore superfuere honori tuo : paucioribus 
tamen lacrimis comploratus es, et novissima in luce 
desideravere aliquid oculi tui. 
4.(5 Si quis piorum manibus locus^ si, ut sapientibus 
placet, non cum corpora extinguuntur magnae animae, 
placide quiescas, nosque domum tuam ab infimao 
desiderio et muliebribus lamentis ad contemplationem 
virtutum tuarum voces, quas neque lugeri neque 
])langi fas est. admiratione te potius et immor- 
talibus laudibus et, si natura suppeditet, similitudine 
colamus : is verus honos, ea coniunctissimi cuiusque 
pietas. id filiae quoque uxorique praeceperim, sic 
patris, sic mariti memoriam venerari, ut omnia facta 
(lictaque eius secum revolvant, formamque ac figuram 
animi magis quam corporis complectantur ; non quia 



the tale who heard your latest utterance, you met your 
doom steadily and cheerfully ; as though, so far as in 
you offer to your Emperor the balm of innocence. 

Yet to me and to your daughter, besides the bitter- 
ness of a father's loss, it is an added grief that it was 
denied us to sit beside your bed of sickness, to com- 
fort your fainting spirit, to take our fill of gazing and 
embrace. At least we had then received some mes- 
sage, some utterance to lay deeply to heart. This 
grief was peculiarly ours, and ours this blow, that by 
the circumstance of our long absence you were lost to 
us four years too soon.^ All tributes, I doubt not, 
best of fathers, were rendered, were lavished, in your 
honour by the fond wife at your bedside ; yet fewer 
by so much were the tears that fell for you, and 
something at least there was which your eyes missed 
when last they sought the light. 

If there be any habitation for the spirits of the 
just ; if, as wise men will have it, the soul that is 
great perish not with the body, may you rest in peace, 
and summon us, your household, from weak repinings 
and womanish tears to the contemplation of those 
virtues which it were impiety to lament or mourn. 
Let reverence rather, let unending thankfulness, let 
imitation even, if our strength permit, be our tribute 
to your memory : this is true respect, this is kinship's 
duty. This would I say to wife and daughter, so to 
venerate the memory of husband and of father as 
to ponder each word and deed within their hearts, 
and to cleave to the lineaments and features of the 
soul rather than of the body. 

1 Tacitus left Rome for a provincial governorship — possibly 
in Belgium on the confines of Germany — about A.D. 89, and 
was absent for four years, A.D. 89-93, during which time came 
the death of Agricola. 



intercedendum putem imaginibus quae marmore aut 
aere finguntiir, sed, ut vultus hominum, ita simulacra 
vultus imbecilla ac mortalia sunt, forma mentis 
aeterna, quam tenere et exprimere non per alienam 
materiam et artem, sed tuis ipse moribus possis. 
quidquid ex Agricola amaviinus, quidquid mirati 
sumus, manet mansurumque est in animis hominum, 
in aeternitate temporum, in fama rerum ; nam multos 
veterum velut inglorios et ignobilis oblivio obruit : 
Agricola posteritati narratus et traditus superstes 



Not that I think the image wrought of bronze or 
marble should be forbidden, but vain alike and passing 
is the face of man and the similitude thereof: only 
the fashion of the soul remains, to be known and 
shown not through alien substances and arts, but in 
your very life and walk. 

Whatever we have loved in Agricola, whatever we 
have admii-ed, abides, and will abide, in the hearts of 
men, in the procession of the ages, in the records 
of history. Many of the ancients has Forgetfulness 
engulfed as though fame nor name were theirs : 
Agricola, whose story here is told, will outlive death, 
to be our children's heritage. 



(a) MSS. 

The chief MSS. are four in number, and go back to 
two lost archetypes : two to each archetype. The 
archetypes have been known as X and Y. The four 
MSS. derived from these have been divided into 

(1) B, a Vatican MS., No. 1862. 

(2) b, a Leyden MS., also called Pontanus from 
Jovius Pontanus, its scribe, who says that he tran- 
scribed it in the year 1460 from a damaged and 
faulty original, discovered by Enoch Asculanus a 
few years earlier at or near Fulda. (See Introduc- 
tion to Agricola, p. 151.) 

These two, B and b, are supposed to come from X. 
Then from Y come 

(3) C, a Vatican MS., No. 1518. 

(4) c, Farnesianus or Neapolitanus (now at Naples). 
Apparently neither tradition is uniformly better 

than the other ; but the superiority, if there be any, 
lies with B and b. 

Other MSS. now in Germany at Munich and Stutt- 
gart are supposed to go back to Asculanus' find, but 
to a date anterior to his finding it. 

Accordingly, as in the case of the Agricola, so also 
in the case of the Germania, our best MS. authority 
is unsatisfactory, and much must be unintelligible or 
supplied by ingenuity and conjecture. 



(b) Date 

Tacitus, having tried his prentice hand on Britain, 
passed on to celebrate Germany, and probably 
published the later work in the year 98 a.d., soon 
after Trajan's accession and a few months after the 
publication of the Agricola. 

(c) Purpose 

In each case his choice of themes for short studies, 
introductory more or less to his larger Histories, 
appears to have been suggested by his model Sallust : 
from this point of view, as the Agricola may be said 
to be a sort of echo of the Catiline, the Gennania 
bears an analogy to the Jugurtha. 

The purpose of the sketch, as of the Agricola, is 
disputed without much reason. 

It has been assumed to be a political work sup- 
})orting the Emperor Trajan in his cautious and 
defensive policy against Germany, by pointing out 
the great strength of the Germans, and the degree 
to which Rome had been indebted for her measure 
of success against them to good luck or to that 
Providence which seems — on this occasion — to have 
been on the side of the weaker battalions. Only 
the internal feuds of the Germans and their incapacity 
to work together (ch. 33) saved Rome. 

It has been supposed, again, to be the Avork of a 
moralist and satii-ist holding up the picture of a 
primitive and manly race before the eyes of decadent 

The former sugi:estion, if not wholly beside the 
mark, is at least a very inadequate explanation of a 
treatise which shows a mind of many interests, by 


no means obsessed with contemporary or practical 
politics, but open to all that appeals to an intelli- 
gent and educated man : character, habits, institu- 
tions, folk-lore, natural history, comparative religion. 

The second suggestion is still narrower. No one 
reading the Germcmia simply, without a thesis to 
defend, would find in it merely an academic scoff at 
civilisation and a professional or professorial eulogy of 
savages or backwoodsmen. Intermingled with the 
sarcasms at the expense of Rome are other sarcasms, 
not less biting, at the expense of the gambling, drink- 
ing, shiftless hunter or Boer. And side by side with 
each style of sarcasm is a great deal of straightforward, 
simple description of " cities of men and manners, 
councils, climates, governments," in which there is 
not a shadow of satire. Besides, the Agricola shows 
how strongly Tacitus sympathised with the states- 
man and distrusted both the moralist pure and 
sim]}le and also his next-door neighbour, the political 
philosoplier and doctrinaire. A moral tract, if it 
appealed to Tacitus the rhetorician, would, on the 
other hand, to Tacitus the statesman and son-in-law 
of Agricola be too suggestive of Thrasea Paetus and 
Helvidius Priscus, of fanaticism and Stoic martyro- 

An historian — it is the commonest of common- 
places to-day — must write of life, not of battles only 
and kings. Tacitus is not unacquainted with that 
much-vaunted discovery of the moderns, and he is 
beginning his historical studies by a sketch of 
Germany, added to a biography of Agricola. 

(d) Value 

The Gennania, from the nature of the subject, is 

less brilliant and epigrammatic than the Agiicola. 

R 257 


Almost necessarily it has some of the same defects : 
the geograjjhy is still vague, even though vagueness 
be less pardonable ; the constitutional history and 
political science have something of the same quality ; 
the writer's account of German monarchies and 
German republics, of the relations oi pagus and viciis 
(canton and village), of chief and retainer, of the 
different assemblies of the German tribes, of the 
organisation of the army, of the judges and assessors, 
of the different clothing of different ranks, of the 
relations of master and slave, of land-tenure in the 
village-community, of the symbolism of German 
marriage, will not satisfy severe students of compara- 
tive institutions, of constitutional history, and of 
ancient law. 

At first sight, then, it may seem that he has fallen 
between two stools : that his book is too serious for 
the frivolous lover of rhetoric, too rhetorical and 
satirical for the scientific student of history. It would 
be fairer to say that it is, like Massilia in the 
Agricola, a happy mixture of Greek humanity and 
provincial simplicity ; written, that is, for the average 
Roman of education, who is neither the fatigued 
raconteia- of high society nor the fatiguing scholar 
and tedious theoi-ist of an academic circle. The 
cultivated man of the world, orator, and moralist, is 
here breaking new ground in that field of history 
which on various occasions since has been claimed as 
the province of dryasdust antiquarianism or of con- 
stitutional law, but which has never been wholly 
given up to these or any other " inhumanities." 

If there are other disturbing causes, besides vague- 
ness and sketchiness, which diminish the value of 
the Gennania in technical details, they ultimately 
go back to the same root of the humanities. The 


satirist and moralist in Tacitus disturb his judgment 
when he comes to write, for example, of marriage 
and dower : he cannot keep his eyes off the Roman 
bride when he describes her simpler and more 
" German " sister : he is living in an age of feminism 
when marriage for many women involves neither 
responsibility, duty, nor danger, and here (chs. 18 
and 19), no less than in the Agricola (ch. 6), he 
takes his fling at the age. Such passages breathe the 
defects of his qualities. 

Again, the Agricola and Germania are the works 
of Tacitus' experimental stage : the dyer's hand is 
not yet subdued to what it works in. We cannot 
expect in them the vivid or the lurid pictures which 
haunt the readers of his later and stronger history : 
the picture of a falling Emperor who " tries the 
barred door and shudders in the empty chambers " 
(^Histories, iii. Si) ; of another victim who "runs the 
gauntlet of the staring streets " ; or the picture of 
tlie end of that Tiberius himself, in whose case alone 
perhaps it may fairly be said that Tacitus becomes 
captious, academic, and hj-percritical : " and now was 
life leaving Tiberius, life and strength ; dissimulation 
lingered" (^Annals, vi. 50). 

Scenes like these are the characteristic product of 
the gloomy imagination which had gradually dis- 
carded, under the depressing experiences of mature 
life, all its earlier creed for the one sombre article, 
"There is a God who punishes" (//?',yto77"e.y, i. 3) — 
the same article to which the Swedish realist 
Strindberg also ultimately reverted after all other 
doctrines had gone by the board in the wreckage of 
his life. 

The pictures of the Agricola and the Germania 
are of a tamer order, and yet they are powerful and 



impressive beyond the measure of the writings of 
other Roman historians. 

They lose in power and impressiveness only when 
they desert history for any branch of philosophy, 
natural or moral. 

It has been said of an English histoi'ian, moralist, 
and biographer that his style is " desiccated by science 
and soured by moralism." If the Gennania does not 
suggest the same reflections on Tacitus' style, it may 
be said indirectly to support the same general thesis; 
for if Tacitus' science enlivens rather than desiccates 
his narrative, if his sarcastic moralising sjnces rather 
than sours his history, it is only because the science 
is naive and Roman and out of date even for his 
time (see ch. 45), and the moralising at once ironical 
and wistful, especially in the last chapter. The 
squalid misery of the poor Lapps seems an unpro- 
mising subject for the moralist, but there is but a 
step between the sublime and the ridiculous ; and 
so there strays even from the dirty, rain-soaked 
Lapp tepee a gleam of the ideal, if not to the con- 
sciousness of the half-human occupant, yet to the 
sensitive, susceptible onlooker, the Roman man of 

(e) Sti/Ie and Language 

As for the actual language of the Gcrmama, the 
mannerism of alliteration is constant, as in the 
Agiicola : it is not always possible to preserve the 
device in an English translation. I have endea- 
voured to do so where I have noticed it : if I have 
missed some instances, I have in compensation 
interpolated others not quite supererogatory. 

There is the same love of epigram as in the 
Agricola, so far as the subject permits : for example, 


the picture of the indolent fighting German 
(ch. 1 5), " with the curious incongruity of tempera- 
ment which makes the same man at once love 
sleep but hate quiet " — a variation of that typical 
Irishman who said, " I love action, but I hate 
work " ; or in ch. 25, " the disabilities of the 
freedman are the evidence of freedom"; or in 
ch. 30, " other Germans you may see going to battle ; 
the Chatti go to war " ; or in ch. 31-, " it was voted 
more religious and more revei'ent to believe in the 
works of Deity than to comprehend them " ; or in 
ch. 37, ''the Germans have gratified us with more 
triumphs than victories"; or in ch. 43, "in every 
battle, after all, the eye is conquered fii'st " ; or, 
finally, the somewhat cryptic epigram on the Finns, 
"among them the woman rules : to this extent they 
have fallen lower not merely than freemen but even 
than slaves." 

M. H. 



See Bibliographi/ to " Agricola," pp. 161-2 

CordcUi Taciti cle Gcnnania. Quartuni recogno\it. 
Carolus Halm. Leipsic^ 1890. 

Curnclii Taciti de Gcnnania. Edited, Avith intro- 
duction, notes, and map, by Henry Furneaux. 
Oxford : Clarendon Press, ISQJ'. 

The edition on which this translation is based. 

The Gcnnania of Tacitus. With etlmological disserta- 
tions and notes by R. G. Latham. London, 

P. Corned Taciti Gcnnania. Edited, with notes, intro- 
duction, and critical appendix, by R. F. Davis, 
B.A. London: Methuen & Co., 1894. 





1 Germania omnis a Gallis Raetisque et Pannoniis 
Rheno et Danuvio fluniiiiibus, a Sarniatis Dacisque 
mutuo inetu aut montibus separatur : cetera Oceanus 
ambit, latos sinus et insularum inmensa spatia com- 
plectens, nuper cognitis quibusdam gentibus ac 
regibuSj quos bellum aperuit. Rheniis, Raeticarum 
Alj)iiim inaccesso ac praecipiti vertice ortus, modico 
flexu in occidentem versus septentrionali Oceano 
miscetur. Danuvius molli et clementer edito montis 
Abnobae iugo efFusus pluris populos adit, donee in 
Ponticum mare sex meatibus erumjiat : septimum os 
paludibus hauritur. 

2 Ipsos Germanos indigenas crediderim minimeque 
aliarum gentium adventibus et hos})itiis mixtos, quia 
nee terra olim, sed classibus advehebantur qui mutare 
sedes quaerebant, et inmensus ultra utque sic dixerim 
adversus Oceanus raris ab orbe nostro navibus aditur. 

1 That is, Germany beyond the Rhine as distinguished from 
Germany Mest of the Rhine, which has ah-eady been divided 
into two Roman provinces : Germania Superior and Germauia 



Undivided Germany ^ is separated from the Gauls, 
Rhaetians, and Pannonians by the rivers Rhine and 
Danube : from the Sarmatians and Dacians by mutual 
misgivings or mountains : the rest of it is surrounded 
by the ocean, which enfolds wide peninsulas and 
islands of vast expanse, some of whose peoples and 
kings have but recently become known to us : war 
has lifted the curtain. 

The Rhine, rising from the inaccessible and precipi- 
tous crest of the Rhaetian Alps, after turning west for 
a reach of some length is lost in the North Sea. Tlie 
Danube pours from the sloping and not vei*y lofty 
ridge of Mount Abnoba, and visits several peoples on 
its course, until at length it emerges by six of its 
channels into the Pontic Sea : the seventh mouth is 
swallowed in marshes. 

As for the Germans themselves, I should suppose 
them to be indigenous and very slightly blended with 
new arrivals from other races or alliances; for originally 
people who sought to migrate reached their destina- 
tion in fleets and not by land ; whilst, in the second 
place, the leagues of ocean on the further side of 
Germany, at the opposite end of the world, so to 

Inferior. Tacitus is imitating the opening of Caesar's Gallic 
War, where "all Gaul" means Gaul as an undivided unit 
and distinct from the Roman province of Gallia Narhonensis. 

quis j)orro. ])raeter periculum horridi et igiioti maris, 
Asia aut Africa aut Italia relicta Gerinaniam pete- 
ret, informem terris, asperam caelo, tristem cultu 
aspectuque, nisi si patria sit ? 

Celebrant camiinibus antiquis, quod unum apud illos 
memoriae et annalium genus est, Tuistonem deum 
terra editum et filium Maimum originem gentis con- 
ditoresque. Manno tris filios adsignant, e quorum 
noniiiiibus proxiini Oceaiio Ingaevones, medii Her- 
minones, ceteri Istaevones vocentur. quidam, ut in 
licentia vetustatis, pluris deo ortos plurisque gentis 
appellationes, Marsos Gambrivios Suebos Vandilios 
adfii-mant, eaque vera et antiqua nomina. ceterum 
Geniianiae vocabulum recens et nuper additum, 
quoniam qui primi Rhenum transgressi Gallos ex- 
pulerint ac nunc Tungri, tunc Germani vocati sint : 
ita nationis nomen, non gentis evaluisse paulatim, ut 
omnes ])rinuim a victore ob metum, mox etiam a se 
ipsis invento nomine Germani vocarentur. 
3 Fuisse apud eos et Herculeni memorant, primumque 
omnium virorum fortium ituri in proelia canunt. sunt 
illis haec quoque carmina, quorum relatu, quem 

1 Adiergus is sometimes translated " Antifiodean." Tacitus 
cannot mean as much as that : there is no '* Antipodes" in his 
geograjjhy : he means at the further side of the liat earth from 
Italy. See the Introduction to the Agrlcolu, sect. (e). 



speak, from us/ are rarely visited by sliips from our 
world. Besides, who, apart from the perils of an 
awful and unknown sea, would have left Asia 
or Africa or Italy to look for Germany ? With 
its Avild scenery and harsh climate it is pleasant 
neither to live in nor look upon unless it be one's 

Their ancient hymns — the only style of record or 
history which they possess — celebrate a god Tuisto, 
a scion of the soil, and his son Mannus as the begin- 
ning and the founders of their race. To Mannus 
they ascribe three sons, from whose names the tribes 
of the sea-shore are to be known as Ingaevones, the 
central tribes as Herminones, and the rest as Istae- 
vones. Some authorities, using the licence which 
pertains to antiquity, pronounce for more sons to the 
god and a larger number of race names, Marsi, Gam- 
brivii, Suebi, Vandilii : these are, they say, real and 
ancient names, while the name of " Germany " is new 
and a recent addition. ^ The first tribes in fact to cross 
the Rhine and expel the Gauls, though now called 
Tungri, were then styled Germans : so little by little 
the name — a tribal, not a national, name — prevailed, 
until the whole people were called by the artificial 
name of " Germans," first only by the victorious tribe 
in oi'der to intimidate the Gauls, but afterwards among 
themselves also. 

They further record how Hercules appeared among 
the Germans, and on the eve of battle the natives 
hymn " Hercules, the first of brave men." They 
have also those cries by the utterance of which — 

2 The Romans thought it a Roman word, meaning the 
" genuine " Celts as distinguished from the degenerate Celts 
of Gaul. It is more likely a Gallic word, used by Gauls of 
Germans, whatever be its meaning (see Latham, p. 27). 



baritum ^ vocant^ accendunt animos futuraeque pug- 
nae fortunam ipso cantu augurantur; terrent enim 
trepidantve, prout sonuit acies, nee tarn vocis ille 
quam virtutis concentus videtur. adfectatur })raecipue 
asperitas soni et fractum murmur, obiectis ad os scutis, 
quo plenior et gravior vox repercussu intumescat. 
ceterum et Ulixen quidam opinantur longo illo et 
fabuloso errore in hunc Oceanum delatumadisse Ger- 
maniae terras, Ascibui-giumquej quod in ripa Rheni 
situm hodieque incolitur, ab illo eonstitutum nomina- 
tumque ; ai-ani quin etiam Ulixi consecratamj adiecto 
Laei'tae patris nomine, eodem loco olim repertam, 
monumentaque et tumulos quosdam Graecis litteris 
inscriptos in confinio Gei'maniae Raetiaeque adhuc 
extare. quae neque confirmare argumentis neqiie re- 
fellere in animo est : ex ingenio suo quisque demat 
vel addat fidem. 
4 Ipse eorum opinioni accedo, qui Germaniae populos 
nuUis aliarum nationum conubiis infectos propriam et 
sinceram et tantum sui similem gentem extitisse arbi- 
trantur. unde habitus quoque corporum, quamquam 
in tanto hominum numero, idem omnibus : truces et 
caerulei oculi, rutilae comae, magna corpora et tantum 
ad impetum valida : laboris atque operum non eadem 

1 baritum, Xaples MS. ; barditum. other MSS., F., H. 


" barritus " ^ is the name they use — they inspire cour- 
age ; and they divine the fortunes of the coming battle 
from the circumstances of the cry. Intimidation or 
timidity depends on the concert of the warriors ; it 
seems to them to mean not so much unison of voices 
as union of hearts ; the object they specially seek is 
a certain volume of hoarseness, a crashing roar, their 
shields being brought up to their lips, that the voice 
may swell to a fuller and deeper note by means of 
the echo. 

To return. Ulysses also — in the opinion of some 
authorities — was carried, during those long and le- 
gendary wanderings, into this ocean, and reached the 
countries of Germany. Asciburgium, which stands on 
the banks of the Rhine and has inhabitants to-day, 
was founded, they say, and named by him ; further, 
they say that an altar dedicated by Ulysses, who 
coupled therewith the name of his father Laertes, was 
once found at the same place, and that certain monu- 
ments and barrows, inscribed with Greek letters, are 
still extant on the borderland between Germany and 
Rhaetia. I have no intention of furnishing evidence 
to establish or refute these assertions : every one 
according to his temperament may minimise or 
magnify their credibility. 

Personally I associate myself with the opinions of 
those who hold that in the peoples of Germany there 
has been given to the woi'ld a race untainted by inter- 
marriage with other races, a peculiar people and 
pure, like no one but themselves ; whence it comes 
that their physicjue, in spite of their vast numbers, is 
identical : fierce blue eyes, red hair, tall frames, 
powerful only spasmodically, and impatient at the 
same time of labour and hard work, and by no means 
1 See Appendix I, p. 345. 



patieutia, miuimeque sitim aestumc^iie tolerare^ frigora 
atque inediam caelo solove adsueverunt. 

5 Terra etsi aliquanto specie differt^ in universum ta- 
men aut silvis horrida aut paludibus foeda, umidior qua 
GalliaSj ventosior quaNoricum ac Pannoniam aspicit; 
satis ferax, frugiferarum arborum inpatiens, pecorum 
fecunda, sed plerumque improcera. ne armentis qui- 
dem suus honor aut gloria frontis : numero gaudent, 
eaeque solae et gratissimae opes sunt, argentum et 
aurum propitiine an irati di negaverint dubito. nee 
tamen adfirmaverim nullam Germaniae venam argen- 
tum aurumve gignere : quis enim scrutatus est ? pos- 
sessione et usu baud perinde adficiuntur. est videre 
apud illos argentea vasa, legatis et principibus eorum 
muneri data, non in alia vilitate quam quae humo 
finguntur ; quamquam proximi ob usum commercio- 
rum aurum et argentum in prctio habent formasque 
quasdam nostrae pecuniae adgnoscunt atque eligunt : 
interiores simplicius et antiquius permutatione mer- 
cium utuntur, pecuniam probant veterem et diu no- 
tam, serratos bigatosque. argentum quoque magis 
quam aurum sequuntur, nulla adfectione animi, sed 
quia numerus argenteorum facilior usui est promiscua 
ac vilia mercantibus. 

6 Ne ferrum quidem superest, sicut ex genere telorum 
colligitur. rari gladiis aut maioribus lanceis utuntur : 


luibituated to bearing thirst and heat; to cold and 
hunger, thanks to the climate and the soil, they are 
accustomed. ' 

There are some varieties in tlie appearance of the 
country, but broadly it is a land of bristling forests 
and unhealthy marshes ; the rainfall is heavier on the 
side of Gaul ; the winds are higher on the side of 
Noricum and Pannonia, 

It is fertile in cereals, but unkindly to fruit- 
bearing trees; it is rich in flocks and herds, but for 
the most part they are undersized. Even the cattle 
lack natural beauty and majestic brows. The pride 
of the people is rather in the number of their beasts, 
which constitute the only wealth the}' welcome. 

The gods have denied them gold and silver, whether 
in mercy or in wrath I find it hard to say ; not that I 
would assert that Germany has no veins bearing gold 
or silver : for who has explored there .^ At any rate, 
they ai*e not affected, like their neighbours, by the 
use and possession of such things. One may see 
among them silver vases, given as gifts to their com- 
manders and chieftains, but treated as of no more 
value than earthenware. Although the border tribes 
for purposes of traffic treat gold and silver as precious 
metals, and recognise and collect certain coins of our 
money, the tribes of the interior practise barter in 
the simpler and older fashion. The coinage which 
appeals to them is the old and long-familiar : the 
denarii with milled edges, showing the two-horsed 
chariot. They prefer silver to gold : not that they 
have any feeling in the matter, but because a number 
of silver pieces is easier to use for people whose pur- 
chases consist of cheap objects of general utility. 

Even iron is not plentiful among them, as may be 
gathered from the style of their weapons. Few have 



hastas vcl ii)Sorum vocabulo frameas gerunt angusto 
et brevi ferro^ sed ita acri et ad usum liabili, ut 
eodem telo^ prout ratio poscit, vel comminus vel 
emiiius puguent. et eques quidem scuto frameaque 
contentus est, pedites et missilia spargunt, pluraque 
singuli, atque in inmensum vibrant^ nudi aut sagulo 
leves. nulla cultus iactatio ; scuta tantum lectissimis 
coloribus distingunt. paucis loricae, vix uni alteriye 
cassis aut galea, equi non forma, non velocitate 
conspicui. sed nee variare gyros in morem nostrum 
docentur : in rectum aut uno flexu dextros agunt, ita 
coniuncto orbe, ut nemo posterior sit. in universum 
aestimanti plus penes peditem roboris ; eoque mixti 
proeliantur, apta et congruente ad equestrem pugnam 
velocitate peditum, quos ex omni iuventute delectos 
ante aciem locant. definitur et numerus : ceuteni 
ex singulis pagis sunt, idque ipsum inter suos vo- 
cantur, et quod jn-imo numerus fuit, iam nomen et 
honor est. acies per cuneos componitur. cedere loco, 
dummodo rursus instes, consilii quam formidinis 
arbitrantur. corpora suorum etiam in dubiis proeliis 
referunt. scutum reliquisse praecipuum flagitium, 
nee aut sacris adesse aut concilium inire ignominioso 


swords oi- the longer kind of lance : they carry short 
spears, in their language " frameae/' with a narrow 
and small iron head, so sharp and so handy in use 
that they fight with the same weapon, as circum- 
stances demand, both at close quarters and at a 
distance. The mounted man is content with a shield 
and framea : the infantry launch showers of missiles 
in addition, each man a volley, and hurl these to 
great distances, for they wear no outer clothing, or at 
most a light cloak. 

There is no bravery of ajjparel among them : their 
shields only are picked out with choice colours. Few 
have breast-plates : scarcely one or two at most have 
metal or hide helmets. The hoi'ses are conspicuous 
neither for beauty nor speed ; but then neither are 
they trained like our horses to run in shifting circles : 
they ride them forwards only or to the right, with 
but one turn from the straight, dressing the line so 
closely as they wheel that no one is left behind. On 
a broad view there is more strength in their infantry, 
and accordingly cavalry and infantry fight in one 
body, the swift-footed infantryman, whom they pick 
out of the whole body of warriors and place in 
front of the line, being well-adapted and suitable for 
cavalry battles. The number of these men is fixed — 
one hundred from each canton : and among themselves 
this, "the Hundred," is the precise name they use ; 
what was once a number only has become a title and 
a distinction. The battle-line itself is arranged in 
wedges : to retire, provided you press on again, they 
ti'eat as a question of tactics, not of cowardice : they 
carry off their dead and wounded even in drawn 
battles. To have abandoned one's shield is the height 
of disgrace ; the man so disgraced cannot be pre- 
sent at religious rites, nor attend a council : many 
s 273 


fas ; multique superstites bellorura infamiam laqiieo 

7 Reges ex nobilitate^ duces ex virtute sumunt. nee 
regibus infinita aut libera potestas, et duces exemplo 
potius quam imjierio, si prompti, si conspicui^ si ante 
aciem agant, adniiratione praesunt. ceterum neque 
animadvertere neque vincire, ne verberare quidem 
nisi sacerdotibus permissum^ non quasi in poenam 
nee ducis iussu, sed velut deo imperante^ quern 
adesse bellantibus credunt. effigiesque et signa 
quaedam detraota lucis in proelium ferunt : quodque 
praecipuum fortitudinis incitamentuni est^ non casus 
nee fortuita conglobatio turinani aut cuneuni facit^ 
sed familiae et propinquitates ; et in proximo 
pignora^ unde feminarum ululatus audiri, unde 
vagitus infantium. hi cuique sanctissimi testes, hi 
maximi laudatores : ad matres, ad coniuges vuhiera 
ferunt : nee illae nuraerare aut exigere plagas pavent, 
cibosque et hortamina pugnantibus gestant. 

8 Memoriae proditur quasdam acies incHnatas iam et 
labantes a feminis restitutas constantia precum et 
obiectu pectorum et monstrata commiuus captivitate, 
quam longe impatientius feminarum suarum nomine 
timent, adeo ut efficacius obligentur animi eivitatum, 
quibus inter obsides jniellae quoque nobiles imper- 
antur. inesse quin etiam sanctum ahquid et pro- 


survivors of war have ended their infamy with a 

They take their kings on the ground of birth, their 
generals on the basis of courage : the authority of 
their kings is not unlimited or arbitrary ; their 
generals control them by example rather than com- 
mand, and by means of the admiration which 
attends upon energy and a conspicuous place in 
front of the line. But anything beyond this — capital 
punishment, imprisonment, even a blow — is permitted 
only to the priests, and then not as a penalty or under 
the general's orders, but as an inspiration from the 
god whom they suppose to accompany them on 
campaign : certain totems, in fact, and emblems are 
fetched from groves and carried into battle. The 
strongest incentive to courage lies in this, that neither 
chance nor casual grouping makes the squadron or 
the wedge, but family and kinship : close at hand, 
too, are their dearest, whence is heard the wailing 
voice of woman and the child's cry : here are the 
witnesses who are in each man's eyes most precious ; 
here the praise he covets most : they take their wounds 
to mother and wife, who do not shrink from counting 
the hurts and demanding a sight of them:^ they 
minister to the combatants food and exhortation. 

Tradition relates that some lost or losing battles 
have been restored by the women, by the incessance 
of their prayers and by the baring of their breasts ; 
for so is it brought home to the men that the slavery, 
which they dread much more keenly on their 
Avomen's account, is close at hand : it follows that 
the loyalty of those ti'ibes is more effectually 
guaranteed from whom, among other hostages, maids 
of high birth have been exacted. 

^ See Appendix II. p. ^iG. 


vidum putant, nee aiit consilia earum aspernantur 
aut responsa neglegunt. vidimus sub divo Ves- 
pasiano \"elaedani diu apud plerosque nuiiiinis loco 
habitam ; sed et olim Albrunam et compluris alias ven- 
erati sunt, non adulatione nee tamquam facerent deas. 
9 Deovuni maxime Mercurium eolunt, cui certis 
diebus humanis quoque hostiis litare fas habent. 
Herculem ac Marteni eoncessis animalibus placant. 
pars Sueborum et Isidi sacrificat : unde eausa et 
origo peregrine sacro, paruni comjieri, nisi quod 
signum ipsum in modum liburnae figuratum docet 
adveetam religionem. ceterum nee cohibere parieti- 
bus decs neque in ullam humani oris speciem ad- 
siniulare ex magnitudine caelestiuni arbitrantur : 
lucos ac neniora consecrant deorumque nominibus 
ajipellant secretum illud, quod sola reverentia vident. 
10 Auspicia sortesque ut qui maxime observant: sor- 
tium eonsuetudo simplex, virgam frugiferae arbori 
decisam in surculos amjnitant eosque notis quibus- 
dam discretos suj)er candidam vestem temere ac for- 
tuito spargunt. mox, si publice consultetur, sacerdos 
civitatis, sin privatim, ipse pater familiae, precatus 

1 The Germans recognised divine inspiration when they saw 
it ; the Romans " manufactured " goddesses out of very inferior 

2 i.e. to the local god, wliom the interprctatio Romana 



Further, they conceive that in woman is a certain 
uncanny and prophetic sense : they neither scorn to 
consult them nor sHght their answers. In the reign 
of Vespasian of happy memory we saw Velaeda 
treated as a deity by many during a long period ; 
but in ancient times also they reverenced Albruna 
and many other women — in no sjnrit of flattery, nor 
for the manufacture of goddesses.^ 

Of the gods, they give a special worshipto Mercury,^ 
to whom on certain days they count even the sacrifice 
of human life lawful. Hercules and Mars^ they 
ajipease with such animal life as is permissible. A 
section of the Suebi ^ sacrifices also to Isis: the 
cause and origin of this foreign worship I have not 
succeeded in discovering, except that the emblem 
itself, which takes the shape of a Liburnian galley, 
shows that the ritual is imported.^ 

Apart from this they deem it incompatible with 
the majesty of the heavenly host to confine the gods 
Avithin walls, or to mould them into any likeness of 
the human face : they consecrate groves and coppices, 
and they give the divine names to that mysterious 
something which is visible only to the eyes of faith. 

To divination and the lot they })ay as much atten- 
tion as any one : the method of drawing lots is 
uniform. A bough is cut from a nut-bearing tree and 
divided into slips : these are distinguished by certain 
runes and spread casually and at random over white 
cloth : afterwards, should the inquiry be official the 
priest of the state, if private the father of the family 

identified with Mercury, viz. Wuodaii or Odin : compare onr 
Wednesday with the French Mevcredi. 

3 See Appendix II[, p. M7. 

4 See ch. 38 and Appendix IX, p. ol.0. 

5 See Appendix^IV, p. 347. 



deos caelumque suspiciens ter singulos tollit, sublatos 
secundum impressam ante notam interpretatur. si 
prohibuerunt, nulla de eadem re in eundem diem 
consultatio ; sin permissum, auspiciorum adhue fides 
exigitur. et illud quidem etiam hie notum, avium 
voces volatusque interrogai'c : proprium gentis equo- 
rum quoque praesagia ac monitus experiri. publice 
aluntur isdem nemoribus ac lucis, candidi et nullo 
mortali oj)ere contaeti ; quos presses sacro curru 
sacerdos ac rex vel princeps civitatis comitantur hin- 
nitusque ac fremitus observant, nee ulli auspicio 
maior fides^ non solum apud plebem, sed apud pro- 
ceres ; sacerdotes enim ministros deorum, illos con- 
scios putant. est et alia observatio auspiciorum, qua 
gravium bellorum eventus explorant. eius gentis, 
cum qua bellum est, captivum quoquo modo inter- 
ceptum cum electo popularium suorum, patriis quem- 
que armis, committunt : victoria huius vel illius pro 
praeiudicio accipitur. 
1 1 De minoribus rebus principes consultant, de maio- 
ribus omnes, ita tamen, ut ea quoque, quorum penes 
plebem arbitrium est, apud principes praetractentur, 
coeunt, nisi quid fortuitum et subitum incidit, certis 
diebus, cum aut inclioatur luna aut impletur ; nam 



in person, after prayers to the gods and with eye\ 
turned to heaven/ takes up one sh'p at a time till h< 
has done this on three separate occasions, and after 
taking the three interprets them according to the 
runes which have been already stamped on them : if 
the message be a prohibition, no inquiry on the same 
matter is made during the same day ; if the message 
be permissive, further confirmation is required by 
means of divination ; and even among the Germans 
divination by consultation of the cries and flight of 
birds is well known, but their special divination is 
to make trial of the omens and warnings furnished 
by horses. 

In the same groves and coppices are fed certain 
white horses, never soiled by mortal use : these 
are yoked to a sacred chariot and accompanied 
by the priest and king, or other chief of the state, 
who then observe their neighing or snorting. On no 
other divination is moi*e i*eliance placed, not mei'ely 
by the people but also by their leaders : the priests 
they regard as the servants of the gods, but the horses 
are their confidants. 

They have another method of taking divinations, 
by means of which they probe the issue of serious 
wars. A member of the tribe at war with them is 
somehow or other captured and pitted against a 
selected champion of their own countrymen, each 
in his tribal armour. The victory of one or the other 
is taken as a presage. 

On small matters the chiefs consult ; on larger 
questions the community ; but with this limita- 
tion, that even the subjects, the decision of which 
rests with the people, are first handled by the chiefs. 
They meet, unless there be some unforeseen and 
^ See Appendix V, p. 348. 



a^endis rebus lioc auspicatissimum initium credunt. 
nee dieriim numerum, lit nos, sed noctium computant. 
sic constituunt^ sic condicunt : nox ducere diem vide- 
tur. illiid ex libertate vitium^ quod non simul nee ut 
- iussi conveniunt, sed et alter et tertius dies euncta- 
tione coeuntium absumitur. ut turbae ^ placuit, con- 
sidunt armati. silentium per sacerdotes, quibus turn 
et coercendi ius est, imperatur. mox rex vel princeps, 
j)roiit aetas cuique, prout nobilitas, prout decus bello- 
rum, prout facundia est, audiuntur, auctoritate sua- 
dendi magis quam lubendi potestate. si displicuit 
sententia, fremitu aspernantur ; sin placuit, frameas 
concutiunt : lionoratissimum adsensus genus est armis 
1 2 Licet apud concilium accusare quoque et discrimen 
capitis intendere. distinctio poenarum ex delicto, 
proditores et transfugas arboribus suspendunt, ignavos 
et imbelles et corpore infames caeno ac palude, iniecta 
insuper crate, mergunt. diversitas supplicii illuc re- 
spicit, tamquam scelera ostendi oporteat, dum puni- 
untur, flagitia abscondi. sed et levioribus delictis 
pro modo poena : equorum j)ecorumque numero con- 
vict! multantur. pars multae regi vel civitati, pars 

1 turbae, MSS. ; turba, F., H. J 


sudden emergency, on days set apart — when the 
moon, that is, is new or at the full : they regard this 
as the most auspicious herald for the transaction of 
business. They count not by days as we do, but by 
nights : ^ their decisions and proclamations are subject 
to this principle : the night, that is, seems to take 
precedence of the day. 

It is a foible of their freedom that they do not 
meet at once and when commanded, but a second 
and a third day is wasted by dilatoriness in assem- 
bling : when the mob is pleased to begin, they take 
their seats carrying arms. Silence is called for by 
the priests, who thenceforward have power also to 
coerce : then a king or a chief is listened to, in order 
of age, birth, glory in war, or eloquence, with the 
prestige which belongs to their counsel rather than 
with any prescriptive right to command. If the 
advice tendered be displeasing, they reject it with 
groans ; if it please them, they clash their spears : 
the most complimentary expression of assent is this 
martial approbation. 

At this assembly it is also peraiissible to lay accusa- 
tions and to bring capital charges. The nature of the 
death penalty differs according to the offence : traitors 
and deserters are hung from trees ; cowards and poor 
fighters and notorious evil-livers are plunged in the 
mud of marshes with a hurdle on their heads : the 
difference of punishment has regard to the principle 
that crime should be blazoned abroad by its retribu- 
tion, but abomination hidden. Lighter offences have 
also a measured punishment : those convicted are 
fined in a number of horses and cattle : part of the 
fine goes to the king or the state ; part is jjaid to the 

1 Compare our words •' fortnight," "se'nnight," the relics 
of the same principle. 



ipsi, qui vindicavit,i vel propinquis eius exsolvitur. 
eliguntur in isdem conciliis et principcs^ qui iura per 
pagos vicosque reddunt ; centeni singulis ex plebe 
comites consilium simul et auctoritas adsunt. 

13 Nihil autem neque publicae neque privatae rei nisi 
armati agunt. sed anna suniere non ante cuiquam 
moris, quam civitas sufFecturum probaverit. turn in 
ipso concilio vel principum aliquis vel pater vel pro- 
pinqui scuto frameaque iuvenem ornant : haec apud 
illos toga, hie })rimus iuventae honos ; ante hoc domus 
pars videntur, mox rei publicae. insignis nobilitas 
aut magna patrum merita principis dignationem etiam 
adulescentulis adsignant : ceteris^ robustioribus ac iam 
pridem probatis adgregantur, nee rubor inter comites 
adspici. gradus quin etiam ipse comitatus habet, 
iudicio eius quem sectantur ; magnaque et comitum 
aemulatio, quibus primus apud principem suum locus, 
et principum, cui plurimi et acerrimi comites. haec 
dignitas, hae vires, magno semper electorum iuvenum 
globo circumdari, in pace decus, in bello praesidium. 
nee solum in sua gente cuique, sed apud finitimas 
quoque civitates id nomen, ea gloria est, si numero 
ac virtute comitatus emineat ; expetuntur enim lega- 
tionibus et muneribus ornantur et ipsa plerumque 
fama bella profligant. 

14 Cum ventum in aciem, turpe principi virtute vinci, 

1 vindicavit, VatimnMS. (B) ; vindicatur, other MSB., F., 11. 

2 ceteris, MSS., F. ; ceteri, H. after Lipsius. 




person himself who brings the cliarge or tu his rela- 
tives. At the same gatherings are selected chiefs, 
who administer law through the cantons and villages : 
each of them has one hundred assessors from the 
people to be his responsible advisers. 

They do no business, public or private, without 
arms in their hands ; yet the custom is that no 
one take arms until the state has endorsed his com- 
petence : then in the assembly itself one of the chiefs 
or his father or his relatives equip the young man with 
shield and spear : this corresponds with them to the 
toga, and is youth's first public distinction : hitherto 
he seems a member of the household, now a member of 
the state. Conspicuously high birth, or signal services 
on the part of ancestors, win the chieftain's a})proba- 
tion even for very young men : they mingle with the 
others, men of maturer strength and tested by long 
years, and have no shame to be seen among his 
retinue. In the retinue itself degrees are observed, 
depending on the judgment of him whom they 
follow : there is great rivalry among the retainers to 
decide who shall have the first place with his chief, 
and among the chieftains as to who shall have the 
largest and keenest retinue. This means rank and 
strength, to be surrounded always with a large band 
of chosen youths — glory in peace, in war protection : 
nor is it only so with his own people, but with 
neighbouring states also it means name and fame for 
a man that his retinue be conspicuous for number 
and character : such men are in request for embas- 
sies, and are honoured with gifts, and often, by 
the mere terror of their name, break the back of 
opposition in war. 

When the battlefield is reached it is a reproach 



turpc comitatui virtutem principis non adaequare. 
iam \ ero infame in omnem vitam ac probrosum super- 
stitem principi suo ex acie recessisse : ilium defendere, 
tueri;, sua quocjue fovtia facta gloriae eius adsignare 
praecipuum sacramentum est : principes pro victoria 
pugnant, comites pro principe. si civitas, in qua 
orti suntj longa pace et otio torpeat, plerique nobilium 
adulescentium petunt ultro eas nationes, quae turn 
bellum aliquod gerunt^ quia et ingrata genti quies et 
facilius inter ancipitia clarescunt magnumque comi- 
tatuni non nisi vi l^elloque tueare : exigunt enim a 
principis sui liberalitate ilium bellatorem equum, 
illam crucntam victricemque frameam ; nam epulae 
et quamquam incompti^ largi tamen apparatus pro 
stipendio cedunt, materia munificentiae per bella 
et raptus. nee arare terram aut exspectare annum 
tarn facile persuaseris quam vocare hostem et vulnera 
mereri. pigrum (juin immo et iners videtur sudore 
adquirere quod possis sanguine parare. 
1 5 (^uotiens bella non ineunt, multum ^ venatibus, plus 
per otium transigunt, dediti somno ciboque^ fortis- 
simus quisque ac bellicosissimus nihil agens^ delegata 
domus et penatium et agrorum cura feminis senibus- 
que et infirmissimo cuique ex familia : ipsi hebent, 
mira diversitate naturae, cum idem homines sic ament 
inertiam et oderint quietem. mos est civitatibus ultro 

1 multum, Lij^'Sius ; non multum, MSS., P., II. 


for a chief to be surpassed in prowess ; a reproach for 
liis retinue not to equal the prowess of its chief: but 
to have left the field and survived one's chief, this 
means lifelong infamy and shame : to protect and 
defend him, to devote one's own feats even to his 
glorification, this is the gist of their allegiance : the 
chief fights for victory, but the retainers for the chief. 

Should it happen that the community where they 
are born be drugged with long years of peace and 
quiet, many of the high-born youth voluntarily seek 
those tribes which ai*e at the time engaged in some 
war ; for rest is unwelcome to the race, and they dis- 
tinguish themselves more readily in the midst of un- 
certainties : besides,you cannot keep up a great retinue 
except by war and violence, for it is to the free-handed 
chief that they look for that war-horse, for that 
murderous and masterful spear : banquetings and a 
certain rude but lavish outfit take the place of salary. 
The material for this free-handedness comes through 
war and foray. You will not so readily persuade them 
to plough the land and wait for the year's returns as to 
challenge the enemy and earn wounds : besides, it 
seems limp and slack to get with the sweating of your 
brow what you can gain with the shedding of your 

When they are not entering on war, they spend 
much time in hunting,but more in idleness — creatures 
who eat and sleep, the best and bravest warriors 
doing nothing, having handed over the charge of 
their home, hearth, and estate to the women and the 
old men and the weakest members of the family ; 
for themselves they vegetate, by that curious incon- 
gruity of temperament which makes of the same men 
such lovers of slumber and such haters of quiet. 


ac viritim conferre principibus vel armentorum vel 
frugum, quod pro honore acceptum etiam neces- 
sitatibus subvenit. gaudeut jjraecipue finitimarum 
gentium donis, quae non mode a singulis, sed et 
publice mittuntui", eleeti equi, magna arma^ phalerae 
torquesque; iam et pecuniam accipere docuimus. 

16 Nullas Germanorum populis urbes habitain satis 
notum est, ne pati quidem inter se iunctas sedes. 
colunt discreti ac diversi, ut fons, ut campus, ut 
nemus })lacuit. vicos locant non in nostrum morem 
conexis et cohaerentibus aedificiis : suam quisque 
domum spatio circumdat, sive adversus casus ignis 
remedium sive inscitia aedificandi. ne caementorum 
quidem a})ud illos aut tegularum usus : materia ad 
omnia utuntur informi et citra speciem aut delecta- 
tionem. quaedam loca diligentius inlinunt terra ita 
pura ac splendente, ut pictui'am ac liniamenta colorum 
imitetur. solent et subterraneos specus aperire eos- 
que multo insuper fimo onerant, sufFugium hiemis et 
receptaculum frugibus, quia rigorem frigorum eius 
modi loci molliunt, et si quando hostis advenit, aperta 
populatur, abdita autem et defossa aut ignorantur 
aut eo ipso fallunt, quod quaerenda sunt. 

1 7 Tegumen omnibus sagum fibula aut, si desit, spina 
consertum : cetera intecti totos diesiuxta focum atque 
ignem agunt. locupletissimi veste distinguuntur, no 


It is the custom in their states to bestow upon the 
chief unasked and man by man some portion of one's 
cattle or crops : it is accepted as a compliment, but 
also serves his needs. The chiefs apjn-eciate still more 
the gifts of neighbouring tribes, which are sent not 
merely by individuals but by the community— selected 
horses, heavy armour, bosses and bracelets : by this 
time Ave have taught them to acce])t money also. 

It is well known that none of the German tribes 
live in cities^ that even individually they do not 
pei'mit houses to touch each other : they live sepa- 
rated and scattered, according as spring-water, 
meadow, or grove appeals to each man : they lay out 
their villages not, after our fashion, Avith buildings 
contiguous and connected ; every one keeps a clear 
space round his house, whether it be a precaution 
against the chances of fire, or just ignorance of 
building. They have not even learned to use quarry- 
stone or tiles : the timber thev use for all purposes is 
unshaped, and sto{)s short of all ornament or attrac- 
tion : certain buildings are smeared with a stucco 
bright and glittering enough to be a substitute for 
})aint and frescoes. They are in the habit also of 
opening pits in the earth and piling dung in quan- 
tities on the roof, as a refuge from the winter or a 
root-house, because such places mitigate the rigour 
of frost, and if an enemy come, he lays waste the 
open ; but the hidden and buried houses are either 
missed outright or escape detection just because they 
require a search. 

For clothing all wear a cloak, fastened with a clasp, 
or, in its absence, a thorn : they spend whole days 
on the hearth round the fire with no other covering. 
The richest men are distinguished by the wearing of 
under-dothes ; not loose, like those of Parthians and 



fluitante, sicut Sarmatae ac Parthi, sed stricta et 
singulos artus exi)rimente. gerunt et ferarum pelles, 
proximi ripae neglegenter, ulteriores exquisitius, ut 
quibus nullus per commercia cultus. eligunt feras 
et detracta velamina spargunt maculis pellibusque 
beluarum, quas exterior Oceanus atque ignotum mare 
gignit. nee alius feminis quam viris habitus, nisi 
quod feminae saepius lineis amictibus velantur eosque 
purpura variant, partemque vestitus superioris in 
manicas non extendunt, nudae brachia ae lacertos ; 
sed et proxima pars pectoris patet. quamquam 
severa illic matrimonial nee ullam morum partem 
magis laudaveris. nam prope soli barbarorum singulis 
uxoribus contenti sunt, exeeptis admodum paucis, 
qui non libidine, sed ob nobilitatem pluribus nuptiis 
i Dotem non uxor marito, sed uxori maritus ofFert. 
intersunt parentes et propinqui ac munera probant, 
munera non ad delicias muliebre^ quaesita nee quibus 
nova nupta comatur, sed boves et frenatum equum et 
scutum cum framea gladioque. in haec munera uxor 
aceipitur, atque in vicem ijisa armorum aliquid viro 
adfert : hoc maximum vinculum, haec arcana sacra, 
hos coniugales deos arbitrantur. ne se mulier extra 
virtutum cogitationes extraque bellorum casus putet, 



Sarmatians, but drawn tight^ throwing each limb into 

They wear also the skins of wild beasts, the ti'ibes 
adjoining the river-bank in casual fashion, the 
further tribes with more attention, since they cannot 
depend on traders for clothing. The beasts for this 
purpose are selected, and the hides so taken are 
chequered with the pied skins of the creatures native 
to the outer ocean and its unknown waters. 

The women have the same dress as the men, except 
that very often trailing linen garments, striped with 
purple, are in use for women : the upper part of this 
costume does not widen into sleeves : their arms and 
shoulders are thei'efore bare, as is the adjoining 
portion of the breast. 

None the less the marriage tie with them is strict : 
you will find nothing in their character to praise 
more highly. They are almost the only barbarians 
who are content with a wife apiece : the very few 
exceptions have nothing to do with passion, but 
consist of those with whom polygamous marriage is 
eagerly sought for the sake of their high birth. 

As for dower, it is not the wife who brings it to 
the husband, but the husband to the wife. The 
parents and relations are present to approve these 
gifts — gifts not devised for ministering to female 
fads, nor for the adornment of the person of the 
bride, but oxen, a horse and bridle, a shield and 
spear or sword ; it is to share these things that the 
wife is taken by the husband, and she herself, in 
turn, brings some piece of armour to her husband. 
Here is the gist of the bond between them, here in 
their eyes its mysterious sacrament, the divinity 
which hedges it. That the wife may not imagine 
herself released from the practice of heroism, released 
T 289 


ipsis incipientis matrimonii auspiciis admonetur 

venire se labonun periculorumque sociam, idem in 

pace, idem in proelio passinvim ausuramque : hoe 

iuncti boves, hoe paratus equus, hoe data arnia 

denuntiant. sic vivendum, sic pereundum : accipere 

se quae hberis inviolata reddat, ac digna ^ quae nurus 

accipiant riirsusque ad nepotes referantur. 

19 Ergo saepta pudicitia agunt, nullis spectaculorum 

inlecebris^ nullis conviviorum irritationibus corruptae. 

litterai'um secreta viri pariter ac feminae ignorant. 

paucissima in tam numerosa gente adulteria, quorum 

poena praesens et maritis permissa : abscisis crinibus 

nudatam coram propinquis expellit domo maritus ac 

per omnem vicum verbere agit ; publicatae enim 

pudicitiae nulla venia : non forma, non aetate, non 

opibus maritum invenerit. nemo enim illic vitia 

ridet, nee corrumpere et corrumpi saeculum vocatur. 

melius quidem adhuc eae civitates, in quibus tantum 

virgines nubunt et cum spe votoque uxoris semel 

transigitur. sic unum accipiunt maritum quo modo 

unum corpus unamque vitam. ne ulla cogitatio ultra, 

ne longior cupiditas, ne tamquam niaritum, sed tam- 

quam matrimonium ament. numerum liberorum 

finire aut quemquam ex adgnatis necare flagitium 

1 inviolata reddat, ac digua, Acidalius ; iuviolata ac digna 
reddat, M8S., F., U. 



fVoni the chances of war, she is tlius warned by the 
very rites with which her mai'riage begins that she 
comes to share hard work and peril ; that her fate 
will be the same as his in peace and in panic, her 
risks the same. This is the moi'al of the yoked 
oxen, of the bridled horse, of the exchange of 
arms ; so must she live and so must die. The 
things she takes she is to hand over invio- 
late to her children, fit to be taken by her 
daughters-in-law and passed on again to her grand- 

So their life is one of fenced-in chastity. There 
is no arena with its seductions, no dinner-tables 
with their provocations to corrupt them. Of the 
exchange of secret lettei's men and women alike 
are innocent ; adulteries ai*e very few for the num- 
ber of the people. Punishment is prompt and is 
the husband's prerogative : her hair close-ci*o]iped, 
stripped of her clothes, her husband drives her 
from his house in presence of his relatives and 
pursues her with blows through the length of the 
village. For prostituted chastity there is no par- 
don ; beauty nor youth nor wealth will find her a 
husband. No one laughs at vice there ; no one calls 
seduction, suffered or wrought, the spirit of the 
age. Better still are those tribes where only maids 
mari'y, and where a woman makes an end, once 
for all, with the hopes and vows of a wife ; so 
they take one husband only, just as one body and 
one life, in order that there may be no second 
thoughts, no belated fancies : in, order that their 
desire may be not for the man, but for marriage ; ^ 
to limit the number of their children, to make away 
with any of the later children is held abominable, 
1 See Appendix VI, p. 348. 



habetur, pi usque ibi boni mores valent quam alibi 
bonae leges. 
20 In omni domo nudi ac sordidi in hos artus^ in haec 
corpora^ quae miramur, excrescunt. sua queraque 
mater uberibus alit, nee ancillis aut nutricibus dele- 
gantur. dominum ac servum nullis educationis 
deliciis dignoscas : inter eadem pecoi'aj in eadem 
humo degunt^ donee aetas separet ingenuos, virtus 
adgnoscat. sera iuvenum venus, eoque inexhausta 
pubertas. nee virgines festinantur ; eadem iuventa, 
similis proceritas : pares validaeque miscentur^ ac 
robora parentum liberi referunt. sororum filiis idem 
apud avunculura qui apud patrem honor, quidam 
sanctiorem artioremque hunc nexum sanguinis arbi- 
trantur et in accipiendis obsidibus magis exigunt^ 
tamquam et animum firmius et domum latius teneant. 
heredes tamen successoresque sui cuique liberi, et 
nullum testamentum. si liberi non sunt, proximus 
gradus in possessione fratres, patrui, avunculi. quanto 

1 An obvious reference to Roman race-suicide and infanticide 
and to the attempt made by the lex Papia Poppaea to stem 
these evils. 

2 DtUciis educationis look? at first sight the Latin 
equivalent to rd wepiTra. to. koix-^o. in Greek (in Euripides' 
Antiope, 25-27, for instance), but it is not so : the Greek refers 



and good habits have more foi-ce with them than 
good laws elsewhere.^ 

There then they are, the children, in every house, 
filling out amid nakedness and squalor into that girth 
of limb and frame which is to our people a marvel. 
Its own mother suckles each at her breast ; they are 
not passed on to nursemaids and wet-nurses. 

Nor can master be recognised from servant by any 
flummery ^ in their respective bringing-up : they live 
in the com})any of the same cattle and on the same mud 
Hoor till years separate the free-born and character 
claims her own. 

The virginity of youth is late treasured and puberty 
therefore inexhaustible ; nor for the girls is there any 
hot-house forcing ; they pass their youth in the same 
way as the boys : their stature is as tall ; when they 
reach the same strength they are mated, and the 
children rejoroduce the vigour of the parents. Sisters' 
children mean as much to their uncle as to their 
father : ^ some tribes regard this blood-tie as even 
closer and more sacred than that between son and 
father, and in taking hostages make it the basis of 
their demand, as though they thus secure loyalty 
more surely and have a wider hold on the family. 

However, so far as heirship and succession are con- 
cerned, each man's children are his heirs, and there 
is no will ; if there be no children, the nearest 
degi-ees of relationship for the holding of property 
are brothers, paternal uncles, and uncles maternal : 

(as one would expect) to education in the narrower and more 
technical sense, and therein to "culture" subjects and to 
the "other frills" of education; but Tacitus only means that 
the children are all brought up without distinction, and with- 
out cosseting and pampering for the better born. 
3 See Appendix VII, p. 349, 


plus propiiiquorumj quanto maior adfinium Humerus 
tanto gratiosior senectus ; nee ulla orbitatis jjretia. 

21 Siiseij)ere tani iuimicitias seu patris seu proi)inqui 
quam amicitias necesse est; nee inplaeabiles durant : 
luitur enim etiam homicidium eerto armentoi'um ac 
jjecoram numero recipitque satisfactionem universa 
domus, utiliter in publicum, quia perieulosiores sunt 
inimicitiae iuxta libertatem. 

Convietibus et hospitiis non alia gens effusius in- 
dulget. quemcumque mortalium areere tecto nefas 
habetur ; j)ro fortuna quisque apparatis epulis excij)it. 
cum defecere, qui modo hospes fuerat, monstrator 
liospitii et comes ; proximam domum non in\dtati 
adeunt. nee interest : pari humanitate accipiuntur, 
notum ignotumque quantum ad ius hospitis nemo dis- 
cernit. abeunti, si quid poposcerit, concedere moris ; 
et poscendi in vicem eadem facilitas. gaudent muner- 
ibus, sed nee data imputant nee acceptis obligantur. 

22 Statim e somno, quern plerumque in diem extra- 
hunt, lavantur, saepius calida, ut apud quos plurimum 
hiems occupat. lauti eibum capiunt : separatae sin- 
gulis sedes et sua cuique mensa. tum ad negotia nee 
minus saepe ad convivia procedunt armati. diem 
noctemque continuare potando nulli probrum. cre- 
brae, ut inter vinolentos, rixae raro conviciis, saepius 

^ Tacitus scoffs at the courtship paid in Kume to orlitas, 
i.e. to the old and childless. 



the more relations a man has and the larger the 
number of his connections by marriage, the more 
influence has he in his age ; it does not pay to have 
no ties.^ 

It is incumbent to take up a father's feuds or a 
kinsman's not less than his friendships ; but such 
feuds do not continue unappeasable: even homicide is 
atoned for by a fixed number of cattle and sheep, and 
the whole family thereby receives satisfaction, to 
the public advantage ; for feuds are more dangerous 
among a free people. 

No race indulges more lavishly in hospitality and 
entertainment : to close the door against any human 
being is a crime. Every one according to his property 
receives at a well-spread board : should it fail, he who 
had been your host points out your place of entertain- 
ment and goes with you. You go next door, without 
an invitation, but it makes no difference ; you are re- 
ceived with the same courtesy. Stranger or acquaint- 
ance, no one distinguishes them where the right of 
hospitality is concerned. It is customary to speed the 
parting guest with anything he fancies. There is 
the same readiness in turn to ask of him : gifts are 
their delight, but they neither count ujion what 
they have given, nor are bound by what they have 

On waking front sleep, which they generally pro- 
long into the day, they wash, usually in warm 
water, since winter bulks so large in their lives ; after 
washing they take a meal, seated apart, each at his 
own table : then, arms in hand, they proceed to busi- 
ness, or, just as often, to revelry. To out-drink 
the day and night is a reproach to no man : brawls 
are frequent ; naturally, among heavy drinkers : they 
seldom terminate with abuse, more often in wounds 



caede et vulneribus transiguntur. sed et de reconci- 
liandis invicem inimicis et iungendis adfinitatibus et 
adsciscendis principibus^ de pace denique ac bello 
plerumque in conviviis consultant, tamquani nullo 
magis tempore aut ad siniplices cogitationes pateat 
animus aut ad magnas incalescat. gens non astuta 
nee callida aperit adhuc secreta pectoris licentia loci ; 
ergo detecta et nuda ornnium mens, postera die 
retractatur, et salva utriusque temporis ratio est : 
deliberant, dum fingere nesciunt^ constituunt, dum 
errare non possunt. 

23 Potui humor ex liordeo aut frumento^ in quandam 
similitudinem vini corruptus : proximi ripae et vinum 
mercantur. cibi siniplices^, agrestia poma, recens fera 
aut lac concretum : sine apparatu, sine blandimentis 
expellunt famem. adversus sitim non eadem tem- 
perantia. si indulseris ebrietati suggerendo quantum 
concupiscunt^ haud minus facile vitiis quam armis 

24 Genus spectaculorum unum atque in omni coetu 
idem, nudi iuvenes, quibus id ludicrum est, inter 
gladios se atque infestas frameas saltu iaciunt. exer- 
citatio artem paravit, ars decorem, non in quaestum 
tamen aut mercedem : quamvis audacis lasciviae pre- 
tium est voluptas spectantium. aleam, quod mirere, 
sobrii inter seria exercent, tanta hurandi perdendive 


and bloodshed ; nevertheless the mutual reconcilia- 
tion of enemies, the forming of family alliances, the 
ajipointment of chiefs, the question even of war or 
peace, are usually debated at these banquets ; as 
though at no other time were the mind more open 
to obvious, or better warmed to larger, thoughts. The 
people are without craft or cunning, and expose in 
the freedom of revelry the heart's previous secrets; 
so every mind is bared to nakedness : on the next day 
the matter is handled afresh ; so the principle of each 
debating season is justified : deliberation comes when 
they are incapable of pretence, but decision w^hen 
they are secure from illusion. 

For drink they use the liquid distilled from barley 
or wheat, after fermentation has given it a certain 
resemblance to wine. The tribes nearest the river 
also buy wine. Their diet is simple : wild fruit, fresh 
venison, curdled milk. Ihey banish hunger without 
sauce or ceremony, but there is not the same temper- 
ance in facing thirst: if you humour their drunken- 
ness by supplying as much as they crave, they will 
be vanquished through their vices as easily as on the 

Their shows are all of one kind, and the same 
whatever the gathering may be : naked youths, for 
whom this is a form of professional acting, jump and 
bound between swords and upturned spears. Practice 
has made them dexterous and dexterity graceful ; yet 
not for hire or gain : however daring be the sport, the 
spectator's pleasure is the only price they ask. 
Gambling, one may be surprised to find, they practise 
in all seriousness in their sober- hours, with such 

^ Tacitus does not mean that such was the deliberate policy 
of Rome, but rather a possible result of the weakness of 
primitive races. 



temeritate, ut, cum omnia defecerunt, extremo ac 

novissimu iactu de libertate ac de corpore conteudaut. 
victus voluntariam servitutera adit : quamvis iuveniorj 
quamvis robustior adligari se ac venire patitur. ea 
est in re prava pervicacia ; ipsi fidem vocant. servos 
condicionis hiiius per commercia tradunt^ ut se qnoque 
pudore victoriae exsolvant. 

Ceteris servis non in nostrum morem, discriptis per 
familiam ministeriis, utuntuv : suam quisque sedem^ 
suos penates regit, frumenti modum dominus aut 
pecoris aut vestis ut colono iniungit^et servus hactenus 
paret : cetera domus officia uxor ac liberi exsequuntur. 
verberare servum ac vinculis et opei'e coercere rarum : 
occidere solent,non disciplina et sevei'itate^ sed impetu 
et ira, ut inimicura, nisi quod impune est. liberti 
non multum supra servos sunt^ raro aliquod momen- 
tum in domo^ numquam in civitate, exceptis dumtaxat 
iis gentibus quae regnantur. ibi enim et super in- 
genuos et super nobiles ascendunt : apud ceteros 
impares libertini libertatis argumentum sunt. 

1 Colonus came in time to mean "serf." which .seem.^ to 
suit the context here ; but Tacitus is either anticipating the 
later meaning of colonus or is suggesting a false analogy between 



recklessness in winning or losing that^ when all else 
has tailed, they stake personal liberty on the last and 
final throw : the loser faces voluntary slavery : though 
he be the younger and the stronger man, he suffers 
himself to be bound and sold ; such is their persist- 
ence in wrong-doing, or their good faith, as they 
themselves style it. Slaves so acquired they trade, 
in order to deliver themselves, as well as the slave, 
from the humiliation involved in such victory. 

Their other slaves are not organised in our fashion : 
that is, by a division of the services of life among 
them. Each of them remains master of his own house 
and home: the master requires from the slave as 
serf ^ a certain quantity of grain or cattle or clothing. 
The slave so far is subservient ; but the other services 
of the household are discharged by the master's wife 
and children. To beat a slave and coerce him with 
liard labour and imprisonment is rare : if they are 
killed, it is not usually to preserve strict discipline, 
but in a fit of fury, like an enemy, except that there 
is no penalty to be paid. 

Freedmen are not much above slaves : rarely are 
they of any weight in the household, never in politics, 
except at least in those states which have kings : then 
they climb above the free-born and above tlie nobles : 
in other states the disabilities of the freedman are the 
evidence of freedom. 

To charge interest and to extend the same to usury - 
is unknown, and the principle accordingly better ob- 
served than if there had been actual prohibition. 

the coloims of his time and ilie Germaa "serf." The passage 
illustrates his carelessness about legal and constitutional 

2 The word " usury " seems here to be used precisely in the 
popular sense which it bears to-day, of extravagant rates of 



26 Faemis agitare et in usuras extendere ignotum ; 
ideoque niagis servatur quam si vetituiii esset. agri 
pro numero cultorum ab universis vicis ^ occupanlur^ 
quos mox inter se secundum dignationem par- 
tiuntur ; facilitatem partiendi camporum spatia 
jiraestant. arva per annos mutant^ et superest 
ager. nee enim cum ubertate et amplitudine soli 
labore contendunt, ut pomaria conserant et prata 
separent et hortos rigent : sola terrae seges imperatur. 
unde annum quoque ipsum non in totidem digerunt 
species : hiems et ver et aestas intellectum ac vocabula 
habent, autumni perinde nomen ac bona ignorantur. 

27 Funerum nulla ambitio : id solum observatur, ut 
corj)ora clai'orum virorum certis lignis crementur, 
struem rogi nee vestibus nee odoribus cumulant : sua 
cuique arma^ quorundam igni et equus adicitur. se- 
pulcrum caespes erigit : monumentorum arduum et 
operosum honorem ut gravem defunctis aspernantur. 
lamenta ac lacrimas cito, dolorem et tristitiam tarda 
ponunt. feminis lugere honestum est, viris meminisse. 

Haec in commune de omnium Germanorura origine 
ac moribus accepimus : nunc singularum gentium in- 
stituta ritusque, quatenus differant, quaeque nationes 
e Germania in Gallias commigraverint, expediam. 

28 Validiores olim Gallorum res fuisse summus aucto- 

1 \'\ci$, one MS. (Barubergincnsis), F.; [vices], ]atican iT/>S'. 
{C) and if. ; in vices, Vatican MS. {B). 



Land is taken up by a village as a whole, in quan- 
tity according to the number of the cultivators : they 
then distribute it among themselves on the basis of 
rank, such distribution being made easy by the extent 
of domain occupied. They change the arable land 
yearly, and there is still land to spare, for they do not 
strain the fertility and resources of the soil by tasking 
them, through the planting of vineyards, the setting 
apart of water-meadows, the irrigation of vegetable 
gardens. Grain is the only harvest required of the 
land ; accordingly the year itself is not divided into as 
many parts as with us : winter, spring, summer have 
a meaning and name ; of autumn ^ the name alike 
and bounties are unknown. 

In burial there is no ostentation : the single 
observance is to burn the bodies of their notables with 
special kinds of wood. They build a pyre, but do not 
load it with palls or spices : to each man his armour ; 
to the fire of some his horse also is added. The tomb 
is a mound of turf : the difficult and tedious tribute of a 
monument they reject as too heavy on the dead. 
Weeping and wailing they put away quickly : sorrow 
and sadness linger. Lamentation becomes women : 
men must remember. 

So much in general w-e have ascertained concermng 
the oi'igin of the undivided Germans and their cus- 
toms. I shall now set forth the habits and customs 
of the several races, and the extent to which they 
differ from each other ; and explain what tribes have 
migrated from Germany to the Gallic provinces. 

That the fortunes of the Gaul were once higher 

1 Similarly, our own words for the seasons are all native 
words, except autumn, which is Latin ; "fall," now American, 
was not English before (or after) the sixteenth and seventeenth 
centuries. Similarly, " herbst" is said to be late German. 



rum divus lulius tradit ; eoque credibile est etiam 
Gallos in Germaniam transgresses : quantulum enim 
amnis obstabat quo minus, ut quaeque gens evaluerat, 
occuparet permutaretque sedes promiscuas adhuc et 
nulla regnorum potentia divisas ? igitur inter Her- 
cyniam silvam Rhenumque et Moenum amnes Helvetii, 
ulteriora Boii, Gallica utraque gens, tenuere. manet 
adhuc Boihaemi nomen significatque loci veterem 
memoriam quamvis mutatis cultoribus. sed utrum 
Aravisci in Pannoniam ab Osis an Osi ab Araviscis in 
Germaniam commigraverint, cum eodem adhuc ser- 
mone institutis moribus utantur, incertum est, quia 
pari olim inopia ac libertate eadem utriusque ripae 
bona malaque erant. Treveri et Nervii circa adfecta- 
tionem Germanicae originis ultro ambitiosi sunt, tam- 
quam per banc gloriam sanguinis a similitudine et 
inertia Gallorum separentur. ipsam Rheni ripam 
baud dubie Germaiiorum populi colunt, Vangitmes, 
Triboci, Nemetes. ne Ubii quidem, quamquam 
Romana colonia esse meruerint ac libentius Agrip- 
pinenses conditoris sui nomine vocentur, origine 

1 According to Latham (Germania, p. 92), Boihaemum rather 
represents the modern Bavaria than Bohemia. 

2 The Romans explain the name " Germani " as meaning 



than tlie German is recorded on the .su))reme 
authority of JuHus of happy memory, and there- 
fore it is easy to believe that the Gauls even 
crossed over into Germany: small chance there 
was of the river preventing each tribe^ as it 
became powerful, from seizing and taking in ex- 
change new land, still held in common, and not yet 
divided into powerful kingdoms : accordingly the 
country between the Hercynian forest and the rivers 
Rhine and Moenus was occu])ied by the Helvetii, and 
the country beyond by the Boii, both Gallic races : 
the name Boihaemum ^ still subsists and testifies to 
the old traditions of the place, though there has been 
a change of occupants. 

Whether, however, the Aravisci migrated into Pan- 
nonia from the Osi, or the Osi into Germany from the 
Aravisci, must remain uncertain, since their si)eech, . 
habits, and type of character are still the same : ori- 
ginally, in fact, there was the same misery and the 
same freedom on either baiik of the river, the same 
advantages and the same drawbacks. 

The Treveri and Nervi conversely go out of their 
way in their ambition to claim a German origin, as 
though this illustrious ancestry delivers them from 
any affinity with the indolent Gaul.^ 

On the river bank itself are planted certain peoples 
indubitably German : Vangiones, Triboci, Nemetes. 
Not even the Ubii, though they have earned the right 
to be a Roman colony and prefer to be called " Agrij)- 
pinenses," from the name of their founder, blush to 
own their German origin : they originally came from 

the i)iu-e or undemovalised Germans, as distinct from tlie 
demoralised Germans of Gaul ; it seems, however, only a differ- 
ence of degree to the mind of Tacitus, who dwells also on the 
indolence of the German. 



erubescunt, transgressi olim et experimento fidei 
super ipsam Rheni ripam collocati, ut arcerent^ non 
ut custodirentur. 
29 Omnium harum gentium virtute praecipui Batavi 
non multum ex ripa^ sed insulam Rheni amnis colunt, 
Chattorum quondam populus et seditione domestica 
in eas sedes transgressus, in quibus pars Romani im- 
perii fierent. manet honos et antiquae societatis in- 
signe ; nam nee tributis contemnuntur nee publicanus 
atterit ; exempti oneribus et collationibus et tantum 
in usum proeliorum sepositi, velut tela atque arma, 
bellis reservantur. est in eodem obsequio et Mattia- 
corum gens ; protulit enim magnitudo populi Romani 
ultra Rhenum ultraque veteres terminos imperii reve- 
rentiam. ita sede finibusque in sua ripa, mente ani- 
moque nobiscum agunt, cetera similes Batavis, nisi 
(|uod ipso adhuc terrae suae solo et caelo acrius 

Non numeraverim inter Germaniae populos, quam- 
quam trans Rhenum Danuviumque consederint, eos 
qui decumates agros exereent : levissimus quisque 
Gallorum et inopia audax dubiae possessionis solum 

1 Modern Hesse ; the names Hesse and Chatti are the same. 

2 The limes was the artificial frontier joining the gap 



beyond the rivei% and were placed in charge of the 
bank itself, after they had given proof of their loyalty, 
in order to block the way to others, not in order to 
be under supervision. 

Of all these races the most manly are the Batavi, 
who occupy only a shoi't stretch of the river bank, 
but with it the island in the stream : they were once 
a tribe of the Chatti,i and on account of a rising at 
home they crossed the river for those lands which 
were to make them j)art of the Roman Empire. Their 
distinction persists and the emblem of their ancient 
alliance with us : they are not insulted, that is, with 
the exaction of tribute, and there is no tax-farmer 
to oppress them : immune from burdens and contribu- 
tions, and set apart for fighting purposes only, they 
are reserved for war, to be, as it were, our arms and 
weapons. Equally loyal are the tribe of the Mattiaci ; 
for the greatness of the Roman nation has projected 
the awe felt for our Empire beyond the Rhine, and be- 
yond the long-established frontier. So by site and terri- 
tory they belong to their own bank, but by sentiment 
and thought they act with us, and correspond in all 
respects with the Batavi, except that hitherto both 
the soil and climate of their land of themselves 
stimulate to greater animation. 

I should not count among the people of Germany, 
though they have established themselves beyond the 
Rhine and Danube, the tribes who cultivate " the 
tithe-lands." All the wastrelsofGaul,])lucking courage 
from misery, took possession of that debateable land : 
latterly, since the frontier line has been driven ^ and 
the garrisons pushed forward, these lands have been 

lietM-een the two natural frontiers, the Rhine and the Danube: 
it was a narrow path planted with a barricade in which at set 
intervals were forts. 

U 305 


occupavere ; mox limite acto promotisque pvaesidiis 
sinus imperii et pars provinciae habeiitur. 
SO Ultra hos Chatti : initium sedis ab Hercyuio saltu 
incohatur, non ita efTusis ac palustribus locis, ut 
ceterae civitates, in quas Germania patescit : dnrant 
siquidem colleS;, paulatim rarescuntj et Chattos suos 
saltus Hercynius prosequitur simul atque deponit. 
duriora genti corpora, stricti artus, minax vultus et 
maior animi vigor, multum, ut inter Germanos, 
I'ationis ac sollertiae : praeponere electos, audire 
praepositos, nosse ordines, intellegere occasiones, 
differre impetus, disponere diem, vallare noctem, 
fortunam inter dubia, virtutem inter certa numerare, 
quodque rarissimum nee nisi Romanae disciplinae 
concessum, plus reponere in duce quam in exercitu. 
omne robur in pedite, quern super arma ferramentis 
quoque et copiis onerant : alios ad proelium ire 
videas, Chattos ad bellum. rari excursus et fortuita 
pugna. equestrium sane virium id proprium, cito 
parei'e victoriam, cito cedere : velocitas iuxta formi- 
dinera, cunctatio propior constantiae est. 

1 See Ch. 38 and Appendix IX, p. 350 ; they seem to be the 
Suebi of Caesar, i.e. Caesar uses the generic name which the 
Gatils gave to varions German peoples on the llhine ; their 



counted an oiitlyino- corner of the Empire and a part 
of the Roman province. 

Beyond these people are tlie Chatti : ^ the front 
of their settlements begins with the Hercynian 
forest. The land is not so low and marshy as the 
other states of the level German plain ; yet even 
where the hills cover a considerable territory they 
gradually fade away, and so the Hercynian forest, 
after escorting its Chatti to the full length of their 
settlement, drops them in the plain. This tribe has 
hardier bodies than the others, close-knit limbs, a 
forbidding expression, and more strength of intellect : 
there is much method in what they do, for Germans 
at least, and much shrewdness. They elect magis- 
trates and listen to the man elected ; know their 
place in the ranks and recognise opportunities ; 
reserve their attack ; have a time for everything ; 
entrench at night ; distrust luck, but rely on courage ; 
and — the rarest thing of all, which only Roman disci- 
pline has been permitted to attain — depend on the 
initiative of the general rather than on that of the 
soldier. 2 Their whole strength lies in their infantry, 
whom they load with iron tools and baggage, in 
addition to their arms : other Germans may be seen 
going to battle, but the Chatti go to war. Forays 
and casual fighting are rare with them : the latter 
method no doubt is part of the strength of cavalry — to 
win suddenly, that is, and as suddenly to retire ; for the 
speed of cavalry is near allied to panic, but the deli- 
berate action of infantry is more likely to be resolute. 

geographical position in Hesse favours their identity with 
Caesar's Suebi. 

2 Tacitus is implicitly contrasting the initiative and self- 
reliance of the native or colonial trooper Avith the machine- 
like discipline of the Roman legionary ; his verdict is in favour 
of the discipline of the regulars and against the colonials. 



31 Et aliis Germanorum populis usurpatum raro et 
privata cuiusque audentia apud Chattos in consensura 
vertit, ut primum adoleverintj ciinem barbamque sub- 
mittere, nee nisi hoste caeso exuere votivum obliga- 
tumque virtuti oris habitum. supersanguinem et spolia 
vevelant frontem^ seque turn demum pretia nascendi 
rettulisse dignosque patria ac parentibus ferunt : 
iguavis et imbellibus manet squalor. fortissimus 
quisque ferreum insuper anulum (ignominiosum id 
genti) velut vinculum gestat^ donee se caede hostis 
absolvat. plurimis Chattorum hie plaeet habituSj 
iamque canent insignes et hostibus simul suisque 
monstrati. omnium penes hos initia pugnarum ; haec 
prima semper acies^ visu nova : nam ne in pace 
quidem eultu mitiore mansuescunt. nulli domus aut 
ager aut aliqua cura : prout ad quemque venere, 
aluntur, prodigi alieni, contemptores sui, donee ex- 
sanguis seneetus tarn durae virtuti impares faciat. 

32 Proximi Chattis eertum iam alveo Rhenum, quique 
terminus esse sufficiat^ Usipi ac Tencteri colunt. 
Tencteri super solitum bellorum decus equestris dis- 
ciplinae arte praecellunt ; nee maior apud Chattos 
peditum laus quam Teneteris equitum. sie instituere 
maiores : })osteri iinitantur. hi lusus infantium^ haec 


The ceremony, practised by other German peoples 
only occasionally, and by individual hardihood, has 
with the Chatti become a convention, to let the hair 
and beard grow when a youth has attained manliood, 
and to put off that facial garb which is due and 
dedicate to manliness only after an enemy has been 
slain : standing above the sanguinary spoil, they dis- 
mantle their faces again, and advertise that then and 
not before have they paid the price of their birth- 
pangs, and are worthy of their kin and country. 
Cowards and weaklings remain unkempt. The 
bravest also wear a ring of iron — the badge of shame 
on other occasions among this people — in token of 
chains, until each man frees himself by the slaughter 
of an enemy : this symbolism is very popular, and men 
already growing grey still wear this uniform for the 
pointing finger of friend and foe. Every battle begins 
with these men : the front rank is made up of them 
and is a curious sight. Nay, even in peace they allow 
no tamer life to enervate them. None of them 
has house or land or any business : wherever they 
present themselves they are entertained, wasteful of 
the substance of others, indifferent to personal 
possessions, until age and loss of blood make them 
unequal to heroism so hardy. 

Next to the Chatti come the Usipi and Tencteri, 
on the Rhine banks where the river has ceased to 
shift its bed and has become fit to serve for a frontier. 
The Tencteri, in addition to the general reputation 
of the race as Avarriors, excel in the accomplishments 
of trained horsemen. The fame of the Chattan in- 
fantry is not greater than that of their cavalry : their 
ancestors established the precedent ; succeeding 
ffenerations vie Avith them : here lies the diversion 



iuvemaii aemulatio : pei'severant senes. inter fami- 
liam et penates et iura successionum equi traduntui* : 
excipit filius^ non ut cetera, maximus natu, sed pvout 
ferox bello et melior. 

33 luxta Tencteros IJructeri oliin occurrebant : nunc 
Chamavos et Anj^rivarios inniigrasse narratur, pulsis 
Bructeris ac penitus excisis vicinaruni consensu na- 
tionum, seu superbiae odio sen praedae dulcedine 
seu favore quodani erga nos deorum ; nam ne spec- 
taculo quidem proelii invidere. super sexaginta milia 
non armis telisque Romanis, sed quod magnificentius 
est^ oblectationi oculisque ceciderunt. maneat, 
quaeso, duretque gentibus, si non amor nostri^ at 
certe odium sui, quando vergentibus ^ imperii fatis 
nihil iam praestare fortuna maius potest quam hos- 
tium discordiam. 

34 Angrivarios et Chamavos a tergo Dulgubnii et 
Chasuarii chidunt aliaeque gentes haud perinde 
memoratae, a fronte Frisii excipiunt. maioribus 
minoribusque Frisiis vocabulum est ex modo virium. 
utraeque nationes usque ad Oceanum Rheno prae- 
texuntur ambiuntque inmensos insuper lacus et 
Romanis classibus navigates. ipsum quin etiam 
Oceanum ilia temptavimus ; et supei;esse adhuc Her- 

1 vergeutibus, Lipsius ; urgiientibus, Vatican MS. (B), F., 
H. ; in urguentibus, Vatican MS. (C). 



of infancy, the rivaliy of youth, and the abiding in- 
terest of age. Horses descend with servants, house, 
and regular inheritance ; but the heir to the horse 
is not, as in other things, the eldest son, but the con- 
fident soldier and tiie better man. 

Originally next the Tencteri one came across the 
Bructeri : the Chamavi and Angrivarii are said to 
have trekked thither recently, after the Bructeri 
had been expelled or cut to pieces by the conjoint 
action of neighbouring peoples, whether from dis- 
gust at their arrogance or from the attractions of 
plunder, or because Heaven leans to the side of 
Rome. Nay, Heaven did not even grudge us a drama- 
tic battle : over sixty thousand men fell, not befoi'e 
the arms and spears of Rome, but — what was even a 
greater triumph for us — merely to delight our eyes. 
Long may it last, I pray, and persist among the 
nations, this — if not love for us — at least hatred for 
each other : since now tligit the destinies of the 
Empire have passed their zenith. Fortune can guaran- 
tee us nothing better than discord among our foes.'^ 

The Angrivarii and Chamavi are closed to the south 
by the Dulgubnii and the Chasuarii and other tribes 
not so well known to history. To the north follow 
the Frisii : they are called the Greater or Lesser 
Frisii according to the measure of their strength : 
these two tribes border the Rhine down to the ocean, 
and also fringe the great lakes Avhich the fleets of 
Rome navigate. Nay, in that quarter we have 
essayed the ocean itself, and beyond our range rumour 
has published the existence of pillars of Hercules : ^ 

1 See Appendix VIII, p. S.'iO. The battle here referred to 
cannot be identilied ; the date must have beeti after A. D. 70{F.). 

2 All boulders rising from the sea at critical places, such as 
straits, were ascribed to the active hands of Hercules, the first 
builder of natural lighthouses. 



culis columnas fama vulgavit, sive adiit Hercules, seu 
quidquid ubique magnificum est, in claritatem eius 
referre consensimus. nee defuit audentia Druso Ger- 
manico, sed obstitit Oceanus in se simul atque in 
Herculem inquiri. mox nemo tempta\it, sanctiusque 
ac reverentius visum de actis deoiiim credere quam 

35 Hactenus in occidentem Germaniam novimus ; in 
septentrionem ingenti flexu recedit. ac primostatim 
Chaucorum gens, quamquam incipiat a Frisiis ac 
partem litoris occupet, omnium quas exposui gentium 
lateribus obtenditur, donee in Chattos usque sinuetur. 
tam inmensum terrarum spatium non tenent tantum 
Chauci, sed et implent, populus inter Germanos 
nobilissimus, quique magnitudinem suam nialit 
iustitia tueri. sine cupididate, sine impotentia, 
quieti secretique nulla provocant bella, nullis raptibus 
aut latrociniis populantui*. id praecipuum virtutis ac 
virium argumentum est, quod, ut superiores agant, 
non per iniurias adsequuntur ; prompta tamen omni- 
bus aniia ac, si res poscat, exercitus,^ pluriraum 
virorum equorumque ; et quiescentibus eadem fama. 

36 In latere Chaucorum Chattorumque Cherusci nim- 
iam ac marcentem diu pacem inlacessiti nutrierunt: 
idque iucundius quam tutius fuit, quia inter inpotentes 

^ ac, si res poscat exercitus, MSS. : ac, si res poscat [exer- 
citus] plurimum, <,5"c.i F., S. 



whether it be that Hercules visited those shores, or 
because we have agreed to enter all marvels every- 
where to his credit. Nor did Drusus Germanicus 
lack audacity, but Ocean vetoed inquiry alike touch- 
ing itself and touching Hercules ; and soon the 
attempt was abandoned, and it was voted more 
religious and more reverent to believe in the works 
of Deity than to comprehend them. 

Hitherto we have been inquiring into Western 
Germany. At this point the country falls away with a 
great bend towards the north, and first of all come 
the Chauci. Though they start next the Frisii and 
occupy part of the seaboard, they also border on all 
of the tribes just mentioned, and finally edge away 
south as far as the Chatti. This vast block of terri- 
tory is not merely held by the Chauci, but filled by 
them. They are the noblest of the German tribes, and 
so constituted as to prefer to protect their vast 
domain by justice alone : they are neither grasping 
nor lawless ; in peaceful seclusion they provoke no 
wars and despatch no raiders on marauding forays ; 
the special proof of their sterling strength is, indeed, 
just this, that they do not depend for their superior 
position on injustice ; yet they are ready with 
anns, and, if circumstances should require, with 
armies, men and horses in abundance ; so, even 
though they keep the peace, their reputation does 
not suffer. 

Bordering the Chauci and the Chatti are the 
Cherusci.i For long years they have been unassailed 
and have encouraged an abnormal and languid peace- 
fulness. It has been a pleasant rather than a sound 
policy : Avith lawlessness and strength on either side 

1 Occupying the modern Brunswick. Under Arminius they 
defeated Varus and his legions in A.D. 9. 



et validos falso (juiescas : ubi manu agitur, niodcstia 
ac probitas nomina superioris ^ sunt, ita qui olim boni 
aequique Cherusci, nunc inertes ac stulti vocantur : 
Chattis victoribus fortuna in sapientiam cessit. tracti 
ruina Cheruscoruni et Fosi^ contermina gens, ad- 
versarum rerura ex aequo socii sunt, cum in secundis 
minores fuissent. 
37 Eundem Germaniae sinum proximi Oceano Cimbri 
tenent, parva nunc civitas, sed gloria ingens. veter- 
isque famae lata vestigia nianent, utraque ripa castra 
ac spatia, quorum ambitu nunc quoque metiaris molem 
nianusque gentis et tanri magni exitus fidem. ses- 
centesimum et quadragesimum annum urbs nostra 
agebat, cum pi-imum Cimbrorum audita sunt arma 
Caecilio Metello et Papirio Carbone consulibus. ex 
quo si ad alteram imperatoris Traiani consulatum 
computemus, ducenti ferme et decern anni colligun- 
tur : tam diu Germania vincitur. medio tarn longi 
aevi spatio multa in vicem damna. non Samnis, non 
Poenij non Hispaniae Galliaeve^ ne Parthi quidem 
saepius admonuere : quip})e regno Arsacis acrior est 
Germanorum libertas. quid enim aliud nobis quam 

1 superioris, F. ; j^uperiori, ff. 


" Tjicitus perhaps means farthest to the north of this 
peninsula, in modern Denmark. The name Cimbri was once 
identified with C ymry, as though the race were Celts, although 
opinion in antiquity was divided. 



of you, you will find peacefulness vanity; where 
might is right, self-control and righteousness are 
titles reserved for the stronger. Accordingly, the 
Cherusci, who were once styled just and generous, 
are now described as indolent and blind, while the 
good luck of the victorious Chatti has been counted 
to them for wisdom. The fall of the Cherusci 
dragged down the Fosi also, a neighbouring tribe : 
they share the adversity of the Cherusci on even 
terms, though they had only been dependents in 
their prosperity. 

This same " sleeve " or ))eninsula of Germany is the 
home of the Cimbri, who dwell nearest the ocean " — a 
small state to-day, but rich in memories. Broad traces 
of their ancient fame are still extant — a spacious camp 
on each bank (of the Rhine), by the circuit of which 
you can even to-day measure the multitudes and 
manual skill of the tribes and the evidences of that 
mighty "trek." 

Our city was in its six hundred and fortieth 
year when the Cimbrian armies were first heard of, 
in the consulship of Caecilius Metellus and Papirius 
Carbo. If we count from that date to the second con- 
sulship of the Emperor Trajan, the total amounts to 
about two hundred and ten years : for that length 
of time has the conquest of Germany been in 
process. Between the beginning and end of 
that long period there have been many mutual 
losses : neither Samnite nor Carthaginian, neither 
Spain nor Gaul, nor even the Parthians have taught 
us more lessons. The German fighting for liberty 
has been a keener enemy than the absolutism of 
Arsaces. What taunt, indeed, has the East for us, 
apart from the overthrow of Crassus — the East 



caedem Crassi, amisso et ipse Pacoro, infra Ven- 
tidium deiectus Oiiens obiecerit ? at Germani Carbone 
et Cassio et Scauro Aurelio et Servilio Caepione 
Gnaeoque Mallio fusis vel captis quinque siraul con- 
sulares exercitus populo Romano, Varum trisque cum 
eo legiones etiam Caesari abstulerunt ; nee impune 
C. Marius in Italia, divus lulius in Gallia, Drusus ac 
Nero et Germanicus in suis eos sedibus perculerunt : 
mox ingentes Gai Caesaris minae in ludibrium versae. 
inde otium, donee occasione discordiae nostrae et 
civilium armorum expugnatis legionum hibernis 
etiam Gallias adfectavere ; ac rursus inde pulsi 
proximis temporibus triumphati magis quara victi 
; Nunc de Suebis dicendum est, quorum non una, ut 
Chattorum Tencterorumve gens ; maiorem enim Ger- 
maniae })artem obtinent, propriis adhuc nationibus 
nominibusque discreti, quamquam in commune Suebi 
vocentur. insigne gentis obliquare crinem nodoque 
substi'ingere : sic Suebi a ceteris Germanis, sic Sue- 
borum ingenui a servis separantur, in aliis gentibus 
seu cognatione aliqua Sueborum seu, quod saepe 
accidit, imitatione, rarum et intra iuventae spatium ; 
apud Suebos usque ad canitiem horrentem capillum 
retorquent, ac saepe in ipso vertice religant ; prin- 
cipes et ornatiorem habent. ea cura formae, sed 

1 In 38 B.C., and apparently on the same day and month on 
which, fifteen years before (June 9), Crassus had fallen at 
Carrhae. To fall at the feet of V'entidius was particularh' 
humiliating, for he had risen from the ranks. Pacorus was 
the son of the Parthian king. 



which itself fell at the feet of a Ventidius ^ and lost 
Pacorus ? 

But the Germans routed or captured Carbo and 
Cassius and Aurelius Scaurus and Servilius Caepio 
and Gnaeus Mallius^and wrested five consular armies 
in one campaign from the people of Rome, and even 
from a Caesar wrested Varus and three legions with 
him. Nor was it without paying a price that Marius 
smote them in Italy, and Julius of happy memory in 
Gaul, and Drusus, Nero, and Germanicus in their 
own homes. Soon after the prodigious tragedy ad- 
vertised by Gains Caesar turned into a farce ; then 
came peace, until, on the opportunity offered by our 
dissensions and by civil war, they carried the legions' 
winter quarters by storm and even aspired to the 
Gallic provinces ; finally, after being repulsed thence, 
they have even in recent years gratified us with more 
triumphs than victories. 

Now I must treat of the Suebi,^ in whom ai-e com- 
prised not one tribe only, as with the Chatti and the 
Tencteri ; for they occupy the gi'eater part of Ger- 
many, and are still distinguished by special national 
names, though styled in general Suebi. One mark 
of the race is to comb the hair back over the side 
of the face and tie it low in a knot behind : this 
distinguishes the Suebi from other Germans, and the 
free-born of the Suebi from the slave. In other tribes, 
whether from some relationship to the Suebi, or, as 
often happens, from imitation, the same thing may 
be found ; but it is rare and confined to the period 
of youth. Among the Suebi, even till the hair is 
grey, they twist the rough locks backward, and often 
knot them on the very crown : the chieftains wear 
theirs somewhat more ornamentally, to this extent 
2 See Ai)pen(lix IX. p. 3r.O. 

•i 1 7 


iiinoxia ; neque enim ut ament amenturve^ in altitu- 
dinein quandam et terroreiii adituri bella comptius 
hostium ^ oculis ornantiir. 

'5Q A'etustissimos nobilissimosque Sueborum Semnones 
meniorant ; fides antiquitatis religione firmatur. stato 
tempore in silvam auguriis patrum et prisca forrnidine 
sacram omnes eiiisdem sanguinis populi legationibus 
coeunt caesoque publice liomine celebrant barbari 
ritus horrenda primordia. est et alia luco reverentia : 
nemo nisi vinculo ligatus ingreditur^ ut minor et 
potestatem numinis prae se ferens. si forte prolapsus 
est, attolli et insurgere baud licitum : per humum 
evolvuntur. eoque omnis superstitio respicit, tam- 
quam inde initia gentis, ibi regnator omnium deus, 
cetera subiecta atque parentia. adicit auctoritatem 
fortuna Semnonum : centum pagi iis habitantur, 
magnoque corpore efficitur ut se Sueborum caput 

40 Contra I^angobardos paucitas nobilitat : plurimis ac 

valentissimis nationibus cincti non per obsequium, sed 

proeliis ac periclitando tuti sunt. Reudigni deinde 

et Aviones et Anglii et Varini et Eudoses et Suardones 

et Nuitones fluminibus aut silvis muniuntur. nee 

^ comptius hostium, Lachmann, P. ; compti ut hostium, 
MS^. ; compti [ut] hostium, //, 


interested in appearances, but innocently so. It is not 
for making love or being made love to ; but men who 
are to face battle are — in the eyes of foemen — more 
decoratively adorned if they attain a certain terrifying 

They describe the Semnones as the most ancient 
and best-born tribe of the Suebi : this evidence of 
their antiquity is confirmed by religion : at fixed 
seasons all the tribes of the same blood gather 
through their delegations at a certain forest — 

" Haunted by visions beheld by their sires and the 
awe of the ages " ^ 

— and after publicly offering uj) a human life, they 
celebrate the grim "initiation" of their barbarous 
worship. There is a further tribute which they pay 
to the grove : no one enters it until he has been 
bound with a chain : he puts off his freedom, and 
advertises in his person the might of the deity : if 
he chance to fall, he inust not be lifted up or rise — 
he must writhe along the gi'ound until he is out 
again : the whole superstition comes to this, that it 
was here where the race arose, here where dwells 
the god who is lord of all things ; everything else is 
subject to him and vassal. The prosperity of the 
Semnones enforces the idea : they occupy one 
hundred cantons, and from their weight it results 
that they consider themselves the head of the Suebi. 

The Langobardi, conversely, are illustrious by lack 
of number : set in the midst of numberless and power- 
ful tribes, they are delivered not by submissiveness, 
but by peril and pitched battle. Then come the 
Reudigni and the Aviones, and the Anglii, and the 
Varini, the Eudoses and Suardones and Nuithones. 

^ Tacitus writes or quotes (or slips into) an hexameter line 



quicquam notabile in singulis, nisi quod in commune 
Nerthum, id est Terram matrem, colunt eamque 
intervenire rebus hominum, invehi populis arbi- 
trantur. est in insula Oceani castum nemus, dica- 
tumque in eo vehiculum, veste contectum ; attingere 
uni sacerdoti concessum. is adesse penetrali deam 
intellegit vectamque bubus feminis multa cum venera- 
tione prosequitur, laeli tunc dies, festa loca, quae- 
cumque adventu hospitioque dignatur. non bella 
ineunt, non arma sumunt ; clausum omne ferrum ; 
pax et quies tunc tantum nota, tunc tantum amata, 
donee idem sacerdos satiatam conversatione morta- 
lium deam temple reddat. mox vehiculum et vestes 
et, si credere velis, numen ipsum secreto lacu ablu- 
itur. servi ministrant, quos statim idem lacus haurit. 
arcanus hinc terror sanctaque ignorantia, quid sit 
illud, quod tantum perituri vident. 
41 Et haec quidem pars Sueborum in secretiora 
Germaniae porrigitur : propior, ut, quo modo paulo 
ante Rhenum, sic nunc Danuvium sequar, Hermun- 
durorum civitas, fida Romanis ; eoque solis Ger- 
manorum non in I'ipa commercium, sed penitus atque 
in splendidissima Raetiae provinciae colonia. passim 



These tribes are protected by forests and rivers, nor 
is there anything noteworthy about them individually, 
except that they worship in common Nerthus, or 
Mother Earth, and conceive her as intervening iu 
human affairs, and riding in procession through the 
cities of men. In an island of the ocean is a holy 
grove, and in it a consecrated chariot, covered with 
robes : a single priest is permitted to touch it : he 
interprets the presence of the goddess in her shrine, 
and follows with deep reverence as she rides away 
drawn by cows : then come days of rejoicing, and all 
places keep holiday, as many as she thinks worthy to 
receive and entertain her. They make no war, take 
no arms : every weapon is put away ; peace and quiet 
are then, and then alone, known and loved, until the 
same priest returns the goddess to her temple, when 
she has had her fill of the society of mortals. After 
this the chariot and the robes, and, if you are willing 
to credit it, the deity in person, are washed in a 
sequestered lake : slaves are the ministrants and are 
straightway swallowed by the same lake : hence a 
mysterious terror and an ignorance full of })iety ^ as 
to what that may be which men only behold to die. 
These sections of the Suebi extend into the more 
secluded parts of Germany ; nearer to us — to follow 
the course of the Danube, as before I followed the 
Rhine — conies the state of the Hermundui'i: they 
are loyal to Rome, and with them alone of Germans 
business is transacted not on the river bank, but far 
within the frontier in the most thriving colony of the 
province of Rhaetia. They cross the river everywhere 
without supervision ; and while we let other peoples 

^ For the sardonic touch compare the close of ch. 34 
Ignorance is the mother of piety, or piety the mother of 
ignorance — it is not clear which. 

X 321 


sine custode transeunt ; et cum ceteris gentibus arma 
modo castraque nostra ostendamuSj his domos vil- 
lasque patefecimus non concupiscentibus. in Her- 
munduris Albis oritur, flumen inclutum et notum 
olim ; nunc tantum auditur. 

42 luxta Hermunduros Naristi ac deinde Marcomani 
et Quadi agunt. praecipua Marcomanorum gloria 
viresque, atque ipsa etiam sedes pulsis olim Boiis 
virtute parta. nee Naristi Quadive degenerant. 
eaque Germaniae velut frons est, quatenus Danuvio 
praecingitur. Marcomanis Quadisque usque ad 
nostram memoriam reges manserunt ex gente ipso- 
rum, nobile Marobodui et Tudri genus (iam et 
externos patiuntur), sed vis et potentia regibus ex 
auctoritate Romana. raro araiis nostris, saepius 
pecunia iuvantur, nee minus valent. 

43 Retro Marsigni, Cotini, Osi. Buri terga Marcomano- 
rum Quadorumque claudunt. e quibus Marsigni et 
Buri sermone cultuque Suebos referunt : Cotinos Gal- 
lica, Osos Pannonica lingua coarguit non esse Ger- 
manos, et quod tributa patiuntur. partem tributorum 
Sarmatae, partem Quadi ut alienigenis imponunt : 
Cotini; quo magis pudeat, et ferrum effodiunt. omnes- 
que hi populi pauca campestrium, ceterum saltus et 

^ The "forward" policy at Rome had designed the Elbe 
for part of the frontier, and had explored it. But after the 



see only our fortified camps, to them we have thro> 
open our houses and homes, because they do no\ 
covet them. Among the Hermunduri rises the River 
Albis — a river once known and famous ; now a name 

Next the Hermunduri are the Naristiand then the 
Marcomani and the Quadi. The fame and strength 
of the Marcomani are outstanding : their very home 
was won by prowess, through the expulsion in ancient 
times of the Boii. Nor are the Naristi and Quadi 
inferior to them : these tribes are, so to speak, the 
brow of Germany, so far a^^Gei'many is wreathed by 
the Danube. The Mai'comani and the Quadi retained 
kings of their own race down to our time — the noble 
houses of Maroboduus and Tudrus : now they 
submit to foreign kings also ; but the force and power 
of their kings rest on the influence of Rome. Occa- 
sionally they are assisted by our armed intervention : 
more often by subsidies, out of which they get as 
much help. 

Behind them are the Marsigni, Cotini, Osi, and 
Buri, enclosing the Marcomani and Quadi from the 
rear : among them the Marsigni and Buri in language 
and culture recall the Suebi : as for the Cotini and 
Osi, the Gallic tongue of the first and the Pannonian 
of the second prove them not to be Germans ; so does 
their submission to tribute. This tribute is imposed 
upon them as foreigners in part by the Sarmatae, in 
part by the Quadi. The Cotini, to their shame, have 
even iron-mines to work.^ All these peoples have little 
level land, but occupy the defiles and summits and 

destruction of Varus in A.D. 9 the frontier remained on the 
Rhine and Danube. 

2 And therefore ought to have been able to manufacture 
arms, instead of tamely paying tribute. 



vertices montiumiugumque insederunt. dirimit enim 
scinditque Suebiam continuum montium iugunij ultra 

- quod plurimae gentes agunt, ex quibuslatissinie patet 
Lugioruni nomen in plures civitates difFusum. valen- 
tissimas nominasse sufficietj Harios^ Helveconas, Ma- 
nimos, Elisios^ Nahanarvalos. apud Nahanarvalos an- 
tiquae religionis lucus ostenditur. praesidet sacerdos 
muliebri ornatu, sed deos interpretatione Romana Cas- 
torem Pollucemque memorant. ea vis numini, nomen 
Alcis. nulla simulacra, nullum peregrinaesuperstitionis 
vestigium ; ut fratres tamen, ut iuvenes venerantur. 
ceterum Harii super vires, quibus enumeratos paulo 
ante populos antecedunt, truces insitae feritati arte 
ac tempore lenocinantur : nigra scuta, tincta corpora ; 
atras ad proelia nocteslegunt ipsaqueformidine atque 
umbra feralis exercitus terrorem inferunt, nullo hos- 
tium sustinente novum ac velutinfernum adspectum ; 
nam primi in omnibus proeliis oculi vincuntur, 

^i Trans Lugios Gotones regnantur, paulo iam adduc- 
tius quam ceterae Gerraanorum gentes, nondum 
tamen supra Hbertatem. protinus deinde ab Oceano 
Rugii et Lemovii ; omniumque harum gentium 
insigne rotunda scuta, breves gladii et erga reges 



ridges of mountains. In fact, a continuous range parts 
and cuts Suebia in two. 

Beyond the range are many races : the most widely 
diffused name is that of the Lugii, which extends 
over several states. It will be sufficient to have named 
the strongest : these are the Hai'ii, Helvecones, Ma- 
nimi, Elisii, Nahanarvali. Among the Nahanarvali is 
shown a grove, the seat of a prehistoric ritual : a priest 
presides in female dress ; but according to the Roman 
interpretation the gods recorded in this fashion are 
Castor and Pollux : that at least is the spirit of the 
godhead here recognised, whose name is the Alci.^ 
No images are in use ; there is no sign of foreign 
superstition : nevertheless they worship these deities 
as brothers and as youths. 

But to return. The Harii, apart from the strength 
in which they surpass the peoples just enumerated, 
are fierce in nature, and trick out this natural ferocity 
by the help of art and season : they blacken their 
shields and dye their bodies ; they choose pitchy 
nights for their battles ; by sheer panic and darkness 
they strike terror like an army of ghosts. No enemy 
can face this novel and, as it were, phantasmal 
vision: in every battle after all the eye is conquered 

Beyond the Lugii is the monarchy of the Gotones : 
the hand upon the reins closes somewhat tighter here 
than among the other tribes of Germans, but not so 
tight yet as to destroy freedom. Then immediately 
following them and on the ocean are the Rugii and 
Lemovii. The distinguishing features of all these 
tribes are round shields, short swords, and a sub- 
missive bearing before their kings. 

1 The Latiu Aids here may be nominative singular or 
dative plural. See Appendix X, p. 351^ 



Suionum hinc civitates^ ipso in Oceano, praeter 
viros armaque classibus valent. forma navium eo 
differt, quod utrimqiie prora paratam semper adpulsui 
frontem agit. nee velis ministrant nee remos in 
ordinem lateribus adiungunt : solutum, ut in quibus- 
dam fluminum, et mutabile, ut res poscit, hinc vel 
illinc remigium. est apud illos et opibus honos, eoque 
unus imperitat, nullis iam exceptionibus, non pre- 
cario iure parendi. nee arma, ut apud ceteros Ger- 
manoSj in promiscuOj sed clausa sub custode, et qui- 
dem servo, quia subitos hostium incursus prohibet 
Oceanus, otiosae porro armatorum manus facile las- 
civiunt : enimvero neque nobilem neque ingenuum^ 
nelibertinum quidem armis praeponere regiautilitas 
•i5 Trans Suionas aliud mare, pigrum ac prope inmo- 
tum, quo cingi cludique terrarum orbem hinc fides, 
quod extremus cadentis iam solis fulgor in ortum 
edurat adeo clarus, ut siderahebetet ; sonum insuper 
emergentis audiri formasque equorum et radios cap- 

^ Tacitus' Germany includes not merely Holland and 
Denmark (chs. 34, 35, and 37), but also Sweden (the Siiiones). 

2 Apparently like the lumbermen's " caravels " sometimes 
seen la the backwoods of Canada. 

3 The Baltic. For the picture of it compare Arjricola, 
ch. 10. The account of Tacitus comes through Strabo from 
Pytheas, the Greek of Marseilles, 330 B.C. 

* The halo round the sun's head or " the spikes of his 



Beyond these tribes the states of the Suiones^i not 
on, but in, the ocean^ possess not merely arms and men 
but powerful fleets : the style of their ships differs in 
this respect, that there is a prow at each end, with a 
beak ready to be driven forwards ; they neither work 
it with sails, nor add oars in banks to the side : the 
gearing of the oars is detached as on certain rivers, 
and reversible as occasion demands, for movement in 
either direction. ^ 

Among these peoples, further, respect is paid to 
wealth, and one man is accordingly supreme, with 
no restrictions and with an unchallenged right to 
obedience ; nor is there any general carrying of arms 
here, as among the other Germans ; rather they are 
locked up in charge of a warder, and that warder 
a slave. The ocean forbids sudden inroads from 
enemies ; and, besides, bands of armed men, with 
nothing to do, easily become riotous : it is not to the 
king's interest to put a noble or a freeman or even 
a freedman in charge of the arms. 

Beyond the Suiones is another sea,^ sluggish and 
almost motionless, with which the earth is girdled 
and bounded : evidence for this is furnished in the 
brilliance of the last rays of the sun, which remain so 
bright from his setting to his rising again as to dim 
the stars : faith adds further that the sound of his 
emergence is audible and the forms of his horses 
visible, with the spikes of his crown. ^ 

crowu " are sometimes explaiued as interpretations of the 
Aurora Borealis. "The forms of his horses" rather tends 
to disci'edit such rationalism. The subjective element pre- 
domiuates, nor is it weakened, to say the least, if deorum 
(the reading of the MSS.) be substituted for the conjectural 
equorum ; but the plural seems much more applicable to the 
horses than to the number of persons involved in the godhead 
of the sun. 



itis adspici persuasio adicit. illuc usque, et fama vera, 

tantum ^ natura. ergo iam dextro Suebici maris litore 

Aestiorum gentes adluuntur, quibus ritus habitus- 

que Sueborum, lingua Britannicae propior. ma.- 

trem deum venerantur. insigne superstitionis formas 

aprorum gestant : id pro armis omnique tutela secu- 

rum deae cultorem etiam inter hostis praestat. rarus 

ferri, frequens fustium usus. frumenta ceterosque 

fructus patientius quam pro solita Gernianoruni inertia 

laborant. sed et mare scrutantur, ac soli omnium 

sucinum, quod ipsi glaesum vocant, inter vada atque 

in ipso litore legunt. nee quae natura quaeve ratio 

gignat, ut barbaris, quaesitum eompertumve ; diu quin 

etiam inter cetera eiectamenta maris iacebat, donee 

luxuria nostra dedit nomen. ipsis in nuUo usu : rude 

legitur, informe perfertur, pretiumque mirantes acci- 

piunt. sucum tamen arborum esse intellegas, quia 

terrena quaedam atque etiam volucria animalia ple- 

rumque interiacent, quae implicata humore mox 

durescente materia cluduntur. fecundiora igitur ne- 

mora lucosque sicuL Orientis secretis, ubi tura bal- 

samaque sudantur, ita Occidentis insulis terrisque 

1 usque, et fama vera, tantum, 3fSS., F. ; usque, si fama 
vera, tantum, H. 



So far (and here rumour speaks the truth), and so 
far only J does Nature reach. 

Accordingly we must now turn to the right-hand 
shore of the Suebic Sea : ^ here it washes the tribes 
of the Aestii ; their customs and dress are Suebic, but / v/ 
their language is nearer British.^ 

They worship the mother of the gods : as an em- 
blem of that superstition they wear the figures of wild 
boars : this boar takes the place of arms or of any 
other protection, and guarantees to the votary of the 
goddess a mind at rest even in the midst of foes. 
They use swords rarely, clubs frequently. Grain and 
other products of the earth they cultivate with a 
patience out of keeping with the lethargy customary 
to Germans : nay, they ransack the sea also, and are 
the only people who gather in the shallows and on 
the shore itself the amber, which the}^ call in their 
tongue "glaesum." 

Nor have they, being barbarians, inquired or 
learned what substance or process produces it : nay, 
it lay there long among the rest of the flotsam and 
jetsam of the sea, until Roman luxury gave it a name. 
To the natives it is useless : it is gathered crude ; is 
forwarded to Rome unshaped : they are astonished 
to be paid for it. Yet you may infer that it is the 
exudation of trees : certain creeping and even winged 
creatures are continually found embedded : they have 
been entangled in its liquid form, and, as the material 
hardens, are imprisoned. I should suppose therefore 
that, just as in the secluded places of the East, where 
frankincense and balsam ai-e exuded, so in the islands 

1 See Appendix IX, p. 350. Latham assumes the cliauce 
identity of the adjective in "Suebic Sea" with the Suebic 
tribes of Silesia. Suebic in the former case he supposes to 
be from Suiones rather than from Suebi. 

2 See Appendix XI, p. 352. 



inesse crediderim^ quae vicini solis radiis expressa 
atque liquentia in proximum mare labuntur ac vi 
tempestatum in adversa litora exundant. si naturam 
sucini admoto igni temptes, in modum taedae accen- 
ditur alitque flammam pinguem et olentem ; mox ut 
in picem resinamve lentescit. 

Suionibus Sitonum gentes continuantur. cetera 
similes uno difFerunt, quod femina dominatur : in 
tantum non modo a libertate sed etiam a servitute 

46 Hie Suebiae finis. Peucinorum Venedorumque et 
Fennorum nationes Germanis an Sarmatis adscribam 
dubito_, quamquam Peucini, quos quidam Bastarnas 

- vocant, sermone cultii^ sede ac domiciliis ut Germani 

agunt. sordes omnium ac torpor : ora procerum conu- 

biis mixtis ^ nonnihil in Sarmatarum habitum foe- 

dantur. Venedi multum ex moribus traxerunt ; nam 

quidquid inter Peucinos Fennosque silvarum ac mon- 

tium erigitur latrociniis pererrant. hi tamen inter 

Germanos potiiis referuntur, quia et domos figunt et 

scuta gestant et pedum usu et pernicitate gaudent : 

quae omnia diversa Sarmatis sunt in plaustro equoque 

viventibus. Fennis mira feritas, foeda paupertas : 

non arma,, non equi^ non penates ; victui herba^ 

vestitui pelles, cubili humus : solae in sagittis opes, 

1 ora procerum conubiis ruixtis, F., H. ; procerum conubiis 
niixtos, MSS, 



and lands of the West there are groves and glades 
more than ordinarily luxuriant : these are tapped and 
liquefied by the rays of the sun, as it approaches, and 
ooze into the nearest sea, whence by the force of 
tempests they are stranded on the shores opposite : 
if you try the qualities of amber by setting fire to it, 
it kindles like a torch and feeds an oily and odorous 
flame, and soon dissolves into something like pitch 
and resin. 

Adjacent to the Suiones come the tribes of the 
Sitones, resembling them in all other respects, and 
differing only in this, that among them the woman 
rules :^ to this extent they have fallen lower not merely 
than freeman but even than slaves. 

Here Suebia ends. As for the tribes of the Peucini, 
Venedi, and Fenni, I am in doubt whether to count 
them as Germans or Sarmatians. Though the Peucini, 
whom some men call Bastarnae, in language, culture, 
fixity of habitation, and house-building, conduct them- 
selves as Germans, all are dirty and lethargic : the 
faces of the chiefs, too, owing to intermarriage, wear to 
some extent the degraded aspect of Sarmatians : while 
the Venedi have contracted many Sarmatian habits ; 
they are caterans, infesting all the hills and forests 
which lie between the Peucini and the Fenni. 

And yet these peoples are preferably entered as 
Germans, since they have fixed abodes, and carry 
shields, and delight to use their feet and to run fast : 
all of which traits are opposite to those of the Sarma- 
tians, who live in wagons and on horseback. 

The Fenni live in astonishing barbarism and dis- 
gusting misery : no arms, no horses, no fixed homes ; 
herbs for their food, skins for their clothing, earth 
for their bed ; arrows are all their wealth ; for want of 
1 See Appendix XII, p. 353. 



quas inopia ferri ossibus asperant. idemque venatus 
viros paritei' ac feminas alit ; passim enim comitantur 
pai'temqiie praedae petunt. nee aliud infantibus 
ferarum imbriumque suffugium quam ut in aliquo 
ramorum nexu contegantur : hue redeunt iuvenes, 
hoc seniim i-eceptaeulum. sed beatius arbitrantur 
quam ingemere agris, inlaborare domibus, suas alienas- 
que fortunas spe metuque versare ; securi adversus 
homines^ securi adversus deos rem difficillimam adse- 
cuti suntj ut illis ne voto quidem opus esset. cetera 
iam fabulosa : Hellusios et Oxionas ora hominum 
voltusque, corpora atque artus ferarum gerere : quod 
ego ut incompertum in medio reHnquam.. 



iron they tij) them with bone. This same hunting is 
the support of the women as well as of the men, for 
they accompany the men freely and claim a share of 
the spoil ; nor have their infants any shelter against 
wild beasts and rain, except the covering aftbi'ded by 
a few intertwined bi-anches. To these the hunters 
return : these are the asylum of age ; and yet they 
think it happier so than to groan over field labour, be 
cumbered with house-service, and be for ever exchang- 
ing their own and their neighbours' goods with alter- 
nate hopes and fears. Unconcerned towards men, 
unconcerned towards Heaven, they have achieved a 
consummation very difficult : they have nothing even 
to ask for.^ 

Beyond this all else that is reported is legendary : 
that the Hellusii and Oxiones have human faces and 
features, the limbs and bodies of beasts : it has not 
been so ascertained, and I shall leave it an open 

1 Justin, 11.2,9 (quoted by Professor Gudeman) imitates 
this passage. 





In chs. 2 and 45 there seems a difficulty in the 
Tacitean use of proper names, a difficulty of order 
between nomen, praenomen, and cognomen. 

Professor Gudeman insists that in these chapters 
Tacitus is transposing the surname or cognomen and 
writing it first, and that the names were — to write 
them in our familiar idiom and in our usual Latin 
order, i.e. praenomen, nomen, cognomen — as follows : 

Lucius lunius Rusticus Arulenus, 
Puhlius Clodius Thrasea Paettis, 
Helvidius Priscus, 
Melius Carus, 
Baehius Massa. 

The only weak spot in his argument appears to be 
that on the same line of reasoning we ought to find 
in this second chapter Scnecioni Herennio instead 
of Herennio Senecio7ii ; yet even Professor Gudeman 
does not venture to say that the philosopher's name 
was in our idiom Senecio Herennius : even he 
assumes, i.e., that in this one case Tacitus has followed 
the, to us, natural order, and has placed the cognomen 
Senecio last and the nomen or praenomen Here7mius 


Mr. Furneaux and Church and Brodribb write 

Arulenus Rusficiis, 
Paeiiis Thrasea, 
Priscus Helvidius, 
Cariis Melius ; 

so far following Tacitus' order ; but conversely Mr. 
Furneaux writes Baebius Massa. Church and 
Brodribb even retain Massa Baebius, but further 
show their uncertainty by writing Helvidius 
Priscus in their note, Priscus Helvidius in their 

Some further examination of the names seems 
necessary : what clues are there ? 

(a) Puetus is certainly a surname : it means, like 
Strabo, "squint-eyed/' and is one of Rome's many 
grotesque cognomina (compare Naevius, Naso, Cicero, 
Scrqfa — the man of warts, the man with the nose, 
garden stuff, swine). Paetus is, indeed, a widespread 
surname : we read of Publius Aelius Paetus, of Quintus 
Aelius Paetus, of Lucius Papirius Paetus, and this 
chapter gives us, I have no doubt, Thrasea Paetus ; 
and in this case Professor Gudeman must be right, 
and Thrasea is a sort of praenomen, or "Christian 
name " as we used to call it, until this pagan age and 
the American continent abolished it for "first name." 
But if so, it is a second praenomen in addition to 
Publius, written after the nomen Clodius, as Publius 
before it : it may be a nickname, then : compare (e). 

(hi) In the case of Baebius Massa there is no strict 
praenomen. Baebius is a gentile name or nomen, 
and Massa is quite obviously the cognomen : here 
also Professor Gudeman is right. 

(c) Helvidius is a praenomen probably ; for Priscus, 


is certainly a Roman surname or cognomen, and 
Professor Gudeman is still justified. 

(rf) Metiiis is said to be a praenomen by Freund — 
we have Melius Ctirtius and Melius Fufeiius : so 
Cams is the cognomen (for which of course there is 
plenty of other evidence : it was the surname of 
Lucretius also) — a further justification of Professor 

(e) Mauricus and Rusticus are brothers. At first 
sight the names are praenomina, and Arulenus is 
the true cognomen, as Professor Gudeman asserts ; 
but there is more difficulty here, for Rusticus' name 
appears to be in full 

Lucius lunius Ruslicus Arulenus, 

while his brother is styled simply 

lunius Mauricus Arulenus ; 

and, further, Rusticus is often a cognomen. In this 
same book Tacitus refers to Fabius Ruslicus the his- 
toi'ian : what, then, is the precise use of Rusticus 
here as a name .^ and why has the philosopher so 
named four names, including one genuine praeno- 
men, Lucius, and one obvious gentile name or 
nomen, lunius } Was Rusticus a nickname in his case, 
or a sort of second — hyphened in our idiom — cogno- 
men .-* The fact that it is used as a pendant to 
Mauricus, his brother's name, suggests that both were 
nicknames and that Mauricus had a praenomen 
corresponding to his brother's Lucius, but not re- 
corded. Professor Gudeman may be broadly right, 
that Arulenus is the real cognomen ; but the force of 
Ruslicus remains dubious, like the force of Thrasea (a). 
(/) There is still left the case of Herennius Senecio. 
Freund takes Senecio for a surname, and quotes 
Y 337 


other passages from the Antials (xiii. 12 ; xv. 50, 56). 
Further, he quotes Herennius as a gentile name : in 
this case, then, there is no praenomen on record, only 
nomen and cognomen, as in the case of Baebius 

Since, therefore, Tacitus writes Massa Baebius 
(cognomen, nomen), he should write, to be con- 
sistent with the other four (or five) cases, Senecioni 
Herennto in ch. 2 ; whereas we read Herennio 
Senecioni, and the puzzle and inconsistency remain, 
though chargeable to Tacitus and not to Professor 
Gudeman. So far as ch. 45 is concerned, where 
we read mox nostrae diixere Helvidium in carcereni 
mamis : iios Mauricum Rusticumque divisimus ; nos 
innocenti sanguine Senecio perfudit, we must assume 
that we have a praenomen (Helvidius), two apparent 
nicknames (^Mauricus and Rusticus), and then a 
cognomen (^Senecio), the philosopher Herennius 
Senecio not being perhaps to Tacitus a figure as 
familiar as the others (the two Aruleni and Helvidius 
Priscus). But this does not explain why in ch. 2 
Tacitus has not written Senecioni Herennio, and I 
am ultimately driven to the assumption that prob- 
ably he did so write,. but that our two MSS., going 
back to the same archetype, have made a slip here, 
and that Professor Gudeman would have been justified 
in printing Senecioni Herennio. Accordingly I have 
translated as though that were the text, and then 
have in every case transposed the names as though 
Tacitus had consistently given us the cognomen or 
surname first. What is there in a name ? A large (or 
small) perplexity in this case. Paehis we know and 
Priscus we know ; but who is this ? 

As regards Roman names in general, and those of 
the Agricola in particular, the probable conclusion of 


the whole matter appears to be somewhat as follows 
(^vide Smith's Dictionary of' Antiquities, and Marquardt, 
Privatleben der Romer, pp. 8-I6) : 

1 , Roman nomenclature from the later Republic 
onwards broke down utterly ; names^ praenomina, 
cognomina were confused and multiplied, neither 
the old sequence nor the old limits of number being 
observed. Orelli found against one Roman thirty 
names recorded ; more modest men bore such 
names as 

(a) Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica Corcuhan, 
Lucius Falerius Messalla Thrasea Priscus 
Quintus Caeciliiis Metellus Pius Scipio. 
In these cases the first of the three cogno- 
mina seems the original ; 

(ft) But, conversely, Marcus Falerius Messalla 
Corvinui was originally Corvinus : Messalla 
was won in battle ; 

(c) While in Caius Antius Aulus lulius 

Quadratus,' or Publius Aelius Aelianus (a 
patronymic of Aelius) Archelaus Marcus, 
there seems no system, only riot and 
confusion ; 

(d) And in Lucius Lucretius Tricipitinus Flavus 

the two cognomina are inverted even 
in the same three lines of the same 

2. Especially were nickname-surnames multiplied 
and confused — that is, names which, nicknames in 
origin and thereby confined to an individual and to 
one life, were yet sometimes transmitted to de- 
scendants; just as in the Province of Quebec to-day 
a peasant sometimes describes himself — even in 



legal documents — as Pierre Sans-Gene, soi-dit 

3. In the Agricola in particular Rusticus and 
Mauricus were probably nicknames proper (p. 2) 
rather than surnames, and belonged as individual 
names to the two men so styled : " the Country- 
man " and "the Moor" — though the former was a 
very common nickname, and often was transmitted 
as a surname, if no other surname existed. 

Even Agricola himself and his father Graecinus 
may well come under this head — may well have been 
nicknamed "Farmer " and " Greekist." 

4. T/i?'asea conversely, though a nickname origi 
nally, " Blusterer," early became a surname, like 
Ce'er, "Swift," and probably is more a hyphened 
surname — used as a praenomen, however— than a 
personal nickname in the Agricola. 

5. Such nicknames or nickname-surnames either 
preceded the original surname or were appended to 
it or displaced it altogether, according as (a) they 
dislodged the praenomen and took its place, or (b) 
dislodged neither praenomen nor cognomen, or (c) 
became more popular than the cognomen proper. 
If Tacitus has any consistency in his order of names, 
we must assume that Rusticus, e.g., became practically 
a praenomen, dislodging Lucius but not dislodging 
Arulenus; and so with Thrasea and Mauricus; whereas 
Agricola and Graecinus, even if also nicknames, yet 
became cognomina in a sense (in later times such 
cognomina were styled agnomina ; they were also 
styled vocahula and signa : see Smith's Diet., ibid.) — 
at least to this extent, that even though they be 
individual names good only for one life, no other 
cognomen is found surviving with them (as it sur- 


vives in the case of Cornelius Lucius Scipio-Barhatus 
or Marcus Valerius Messalla-Corvinus). We hear of 
Agricola only as Gnaeus lulius Agricola ; of his father 
only as lulius Graecinus. 



The MSS. here have differt : in vielius : adiius, &c., 
cogniii, i.e. differunt in melius : adiius, &c. [instead 
of diff'erunt : in melius aditus . . , (substantially the 
text of Furneaux)]. Professor Gudeman ascribes the 
two words in melius to the patriotism of some Irish 
scribe altering the archetype in some Irish monastery, 
to glorify the early superiority of Ireland, which 
already " differs for the better " from the pre- 
dominant pai'tner. Such a tribute from Tacitus 
is perhaps not less weighty and conclusive than 
other evidence for the same thesis. But the ex- 
planation pi'oves too much perhaps : on the same 
line of argument the earlier part of this chapter, 
which is at least compatible with the invasion of 
Ireland and defeat of the Irish by Agricola, would 
have disappeared, and not less the concluding section. 
There would have been no domestic feuds between 
Ireland's pi*ehistoric politicians. 





Tacitus with his usual unconcern has not explained 
the alleged circumnavigation : it Avas a circum- 
navigation, and it ended at the Rhine or near it ; 
consequently it started from the west coast of Scot- 
land. But even so it is only by inference that it can be 
asserted that they sailed north round Cape Wrath : 
the internal evidence is against this ; for Tacitus 
does not appear to connect at all this circumnaviga- 
tion with that subsequent one related later in ch. 38, 
and briefly noticed earlier in ch. 10. On the other 
hand, Dio Cassius directly connects the two, and 
asserts that Agricola's deliberate enterprise was sug- 
gested by this casual and almost rudderless voyage 
(Dio. Lxvi. 20), but then his version differs so entirely 
from Tacitus' that it cannot be used to fill up Tacitus' 
gaps ; he makes the meteoric pirates sail from east to 
west via north. Tacitus makes them circumnavigate 
Britain and end at the Rhine : he does not give us 
their starting-point, but ch. 25 suggests the east 
coast rather than the west ; while the circumnavi- 
gation suggests west rather than east. 





See also ch. 10; but unless scholars are mistaken 
this voyage was not, strictly, a circumnavigation of 
Britain : it started from some place in Fifeshire or 
thereabouts, rounded the north coast of Scotland, 
passed down the west coast sufficiently far to identify 
places visited in the year 82 a.d. (ch. 24) as well 
as in the summer of a.d. 83 (ch. 28), during 
both of which years the Roman fleet had operated on 
the west coast, and then turned round, passed north 
again, rounded the north coast again, and came back 
down the east coast to the same harbour of Trucculum. 
The only interpretations which would make it a 
real circumnavigation of Britain would be either (l) 
to assume that the fleet operating with the army 
(ch. 25) up to the great victory near Mount Graupius 
had started from Trucculum on the east coast and 
sailed south, west, and north, and had been operating 
since a.d. 82 on the west coast, whence it came round 
by the north to Fifeshire, against which supposition 
is the repeated reference (in ch. 25) to Bodotria 
(the Forth) ; or (2) to assume that the fleet, after a 
victory on the east coast, returned to Trucculum on 
the same coast by a voyage round the whole of 
Northern Scotland and England and Wales, returning 
to Scotland by way of the southern and eastern 
coasts of England — a feat almost inconceivable at 
that time of year, but assumed by Church and Brod- 



ribb in their translation (not in their edition of the 
Latin text). Such are some of the difficulties in 
which we are landed by Tacitus' indifference to 

Vide Introduction^E (2), by "adjacent " {proximo) I 
understand simply " neighbouring,"' the shore along 
which the fleet sailed in their coasting voyage ; but 
(a) Professor Gudeman takes it to mean " nearest to 
Rome," i.e. (he thinks) the eastern coast of England 
and Scotland ; while (b) Church and Brodribb (in 
their edition of the text) make it " nearest to 
Bodotria," i.e. (again) " eastern." (On my view it could 
as legitimately mean "western" — or "northern," 
or "southern," according to context — being simply 
the shore along which the fleet was at any given 
time coasting.) But, again, (c) the same editors (in 
their translation) take "proximo" to mean "nearest 
to Rome," i.e. (to them) "southern," i.e. a coasting 
along the whole southern coast of England. Finally, 
(c?) that "proximo" may box the compass and bear 
every geographical explanation, the anonymous trans- 
lation published by Messrs. Kegan Paul makes it 
mean "the northern coast of Scotland," which the 
translator thinks might fairly be described as " the 
neighbouring coast " to a fleet far up on the east 



CHAP. Ill 

Barritus is also the word used for the cry of the 
'^' rogue" elephant. As used here by Tacitus for the 
German war-cry, it occurs also in the later writers 
Ammianus Marcellinus and Vegetius. The word — or 
one of these words if there be two — still survives in 
the political sphere as '^ booing" : see M. Hanotaux, 
La France Conteviporahie, vol. iv. p. 32 : " A la fin un 
tolle effrayant s'eleve a droite : les pupitres battent, 
les couteaux frappent : on imite les cris d'aniniaux, 
on siffle, on aboie, on bamt " — that is, the elephantine 
sense of the word has survived in France. As for the 
spelling, some of the dictionaries (Lewis and Short, e.g.) 
make barritus the cry of the elephant, baritns 
the German war-cry ; others (Le Xouveaii Larousse 
ILlustre, e.g.) appear to identify the two words, or at least 
to spell each with two " r's." The variant reading 
harditus (Furneaux and Gudeman) has been con- 
fused with the Celtic word "bard," but is generally 
supposed to be from the Scandinavian " bardhi," a 
shield = the shield-song. This makes admirable sense, 
but is there sufficient proof of the actual existence of 
the word barditus ? It looks like a terminological 
exactitude, " se non vero, ben trovato," by Tacitus' 



commentators. Hatzfeldt-Darmesteter, my colleague 
Professor I. H. Cameron tells me, recognise "bardit" 
as a word used in the seventeenth century, and later 
by Chateaubriand in his Martyrs, in the sense of." chant 
guerrier des Germains." Has this seventeenth- 
century use any authority independent of the present 
passage of the Ger7nania ? If not, Ammianus and 
Vegetius seem sufficient to turn the scale in favour 
of harritus (or baritus). 



A curious controversy has arisen here on the 
word exigere. Mr. Furneaux takes it in the 
sense of " examine," but as a court of honour or the 
seconds at a French duel " examine," not as a 
physician examines : if this be the idea it would be 
better to translate at once, with Church and 
Brodribb, "and even demanding them" (as proofs 
of courage)? Yet a third interpretation makes 
the word stand for medical examination : Tacitus, 
that is, is reflecting on the squeamishness of Roman 
ladies. The ti*anslation I have suggested involves the 
same reflection, but strains much less the natui'al 
sense of exigere than the third interpretation, while 
allowing more natural feeling to the German women 
than the first and second. 





The English and French names for the da3's of 
the week as illustrations of the interpretatio Romana 
(see note, pp. 276-7) here break down. Hercules 
was probably identified by many with Thor ; but 
Thursday = Jeudi shows that Thor was identified 
also with Jupiter (whence the day in French and 
English). So Mardi = Tuesday is a sign of a similar 
confusion ; for Tuesday is not merely the day of Tiu, 
but manifestly, so far as language is concerned, the 
day of Zeus, not of Mars. Further, since Zeus and 
Jupiter were identified by the same inlerpretatio 
Romana, it follows that Thor and Tiu are identical, 
and Tuesday and Thursday are the same day (to the 
religious mind). 



Grimm, followed by Latham, disagrees with 
Tacitus : they supj^ose the identification of the local 
Suebic goddess with Isis to be due, not to the 
common use of the emblem of a ship in the cele- 
bration of spring and the opening of navigation, 
but to a casual similarity of name. Near Augsburg 
was the worship of a goddess Cisa or Ziza : her name 
betrayed her. Then afterwards, when she had 
already been transformed into Isis, the ritual and 
ideas of Isis-worship attached themselves to her. 




The commentators explain that the eyes are 
turned to heaven to avoid seeing which slip is taken 
up. The explanation smacks of the twentieth century. 
The primitive mind is not likely to have been at once 
so simple and so material : the celebrant, we must 
suppose,saw something,as well as escaped seeing some- 
thing else, when he turned his eyes to heaven : the 
direction of his gaze was positive no less than negative. 
We deceive ourselves : did our ancestors do less ? 



"A woman shall be the wife of one husband " is 
the German principle. So much is clear, but the re- 
statement of the principle in the concluding words, 
ne tanqiiam mantiun sed tanqiiam matrimonium ament, 
looks so inconclusive, if not inconsistent, that 
Professor Gudeman thinks that the same general 
sense would be reached more naturally by trans- 
posing matrimonium. and maritum : the wife is to be 
true (it will then mean) to the memory of the hus- 
band of her youth ; it is he, and not marriage, of 
which she thinks, therefore for her there is no second 
marriage. This is plausible and ingenious, perhaps a 
little too modern and sentimental. Tacitus probably 
means that in the primitive society of Germany it is 
marriage, not love, which is set before women, and 


having once married, they have fulfilled their destiny 
and are not encouraged to give rein to mere senti- 
ment ; he is taking a side-fling, that is, at Roman 
feminine sensibility. I have therefore, though not 
without some scruple, accepted the received text as 
the better expression of his argument. 



The passage is obscure, and the obscurity has been 
increased by mutually inconsistent explanations. One 
explanation refers us to that patiia potestas which 
makes a son the guardian of his sisters after the 
father's death, as though this would also make him 
guardian of their children (clearly it would not). 
Another explanation more naturally quotes the 
opposite principle of the matriarchate or mother- 
right, in virtue of which descent is traced through the 
female line ; the maternal uncle (^avunculus) then 
will think of his sister's children, of the girls in 
particular (and Tacitus may include the girls in the 
word filiis, even if he is not specially referring to 
them), as perpetuating his mother's — that is, his own — 
family. The very word avunculus = materna.\ uncle 
= little grandfather — that is, a youthful guardian of 
children who have neither father nor grandfather 
living — points in the same direction and seems to be 
a survival of the matriarchate in Rome. 





Fergentibiis fatis (Lipsius). The ordinary text 
urgenlibus labours under a double difficulty : (a) 
It is so vague that those who ado})t it cannot define 
its meaning, which may be either '• drive the Empire 
forwards" — that is, " into a 'forward' policy" — or 
" press hard upon it" — that is, "menace its safety." 
(b) Either of these meanings would be more naturally 
expressed (after Livy, v. 36) by the accusative urgen- 
libus Imperium fatis (not Imperii^. A better ren- 
dering of the ordinary text would even be " now that 
the Nemesis of Empire is at our heels," but to trans- 
late so is to strain both the Latin idioin and the ideas 
of Tacitus : on the other hand, there is abundant 
evidence that he thought that the best days of 
Rome were over (see Boissier, Tacite, pp. 128-40). 
Even were there no other evidence^ what Mr. Fur- 
neaux calls " the dreadful inhumanity " of this 
chapter of itself proves as much, for it arises ob- 
viously from Tacitus' vivid apjirehensions of " the 
German peril " (^eadem sunt omnia semper) and from 
the pessimism of his outlook. 



Caesar, who does not mention the Chatti, writes 
continually of the Suebi. It is assumed by Latham 
and others that the term Suebi is a Gallic or Scla- 
vonic name, applied generally to Germans near the 


Rhine, but properly belonging rather to the Scla- 
vonic tribes of Saxony and Silesia : Latham explains 
the name to be identical with Serb and Sorb and 
Serv (of modern Servia). It was not applied by any 
Germans to themselves until much later, when in the 
third century it came to be adopted by the Germans 
of Baden and Wiirtemberg, who called them- 
selves Suabians and their land Suabia, whence the 
modern use. Caesar's Suevi seem geographically 
to be Chatti ; Tacitus' to be broadly Silesians and 
Saxons geographically. Finally, the extreme geo- 
graphical extension of the term (we have Suevicum 
mare of the Baltic in ch. 45) is, if Latham be right, 
one of those chance equivocations which seem 
designed for the confusion of ethnologists [compare 
Khan and Hakon (Latham, Epi/egome7ia, 64) ; Gallia, 
Galatia, and Galicia ; Tsar and Caesar ; Gotini and 
Gothones ; Burgundians and Bulgarians ; Teutonicus 
and Teudisca ( = Theotiscus, Tedesco, Deutsch — the 
Teutones not being perhaps German at all — Latham, 
Epil., 81)]. Similarly, the mare Siieiucum is rather 
the Swedish sea from the Suiones (ch. 44) than the 
sea of the Suevi. 



The reference to Castor and Pollux suggests that 
Tacitus means '^'the Alci," and supposes them to be 
twin-brothers, " Heavenly Twins," such as those 
whose worship in some form and name appears in 
widely different parts of the world : the Oriental As- 
vins, for example. Conversely, the singular mimini 



in the preceding line is in favour of the translation 
"Alcis": nioneji lias just been used in ch. 40, if not 
of visible god or goddess, then of their visible en^blem, 
symbol, or totem ; at any rate, 7iut of that invisible 
essence, spirit, or divinity such as might conceivably 
be ascribed even in the singular to twin-deities : yet 
the line which follows, ut fratres . . . venerantur, is 
so hai-d to reconcile Avith Alcis as singular that on the 
whole it seems best to understand numen here in a 
sense different from that of ch. 40. Tacitus, then, is 
here writing in his philosopliic and theistic mood : 
the emblems and symbols, even the so-called gods, are 
legion, but divinity is one (compare ch. 9)- 



The language, says Latham, was Lithuanian : its 
nearness to British meant to Tacitus' informants either 
merely that it was not German, or, as Latham would 
prefer, that the name of the language was Prussian, 
and Prussian was confounded with British, either 
through the similarity of the Latin adjectives Pru- 
thenicus (or Borussicus) and Britannicus, or other- 
wise and more simply through the resemblance of 
the national Anglo-Saxon adjectives Bryttisce and 
Pryttisce and the roots '^ Brit " and " Prut." 





The words 7iiAi quod femina dominulur must 
obviously be translated in the light of the epigram 
that follows ; otherwise in themselves they might 
simply mean " their present ruler is a woman^" or, 
at most — less tamely, but still too tamely to be 
the basis for an epigram — " their sovereigns are 
always women." Read in the light of the following 
epigram, they can, I think, have but one meaning : 
" among them the woman rules." So taken the 
passage is not without difficulty. Tacitus, it appears, 
cannot resist an epigram, good, bad, or indifferent : 
the present is indifferently bad, so bad that it looks 
like the work of a clever imitator ; and 1 should 
almost be disposed to omit the epigram altogether. 
The sentiment is scarcely Roman, Tacitean, British, or 
German (see Agricola, chs. 6, l6, and Germania, 
ch. 8) — though Latham dryly remarks that the 
sentiment is more German than Roman — but sug- 
gests some one " who has not yet rounded Cape 
Turk." Further, for my translation there is not 
mei'ely the internal evidence of the epigram, but some 
external evidence also. Legends of an Amazon tribe 
in this neighbourhood are found in other literature. 
Alfred the Great refers to them in his Orosius, also 
Adam of Bremen, De situ Daniae, 222, both quoted 
by Latham. If they get the idea from Tacitus, then 
the translation in the text, right or wrong, is at least 
the translation of tradition ; if they write inde- 
pendently of Tacitus, then the independent tradition 
which they follow is prima facie evidence that Tacitus 

z 353 


has heard the same tradition and is giving it expres- 
sion^ and is not referring merely to a single queen or 
a line of queens. As for the tradition itself, attempts 
are made to explain it or explain it av.ay, like other 
mythology, as "a disease of language " : it is argued 
by Latham, e.g., that the native name of these Finns 
is Quoen ; while the Swedish name for woman is 
qiiinna (compare ywr] and English quean). Out 
of this simple equivocation arose the legend of the 
race of women — or of Amazons — in whose society the 
part played by men was reduced to the irreducible 
minimum. The explanation is not easier of belief 
than the tradition it explains. 





CADEMici, XXX and xxxi. This 

school of philosophy derived its 
uame from its connection with 
IMato's Academy (xxxii). 
.coins, L., XX and xxi. Tragic 
poet, 170-84 B.C. 
chaia, xxx. = Greece, 
eschines, xv and xxv. Attic 
orator, tlie rival of Demos- 

fer, Domitius, xiii and xv. A 
great orator, the tcaclier and 
model of Quintilian. He was 
consul A.D. 39, and died a.d. 59. 
fricanus, Julius, xiv and xv. 
Also a great orator, contemporary 
witli Afer. He was a Gaul by 

gamemnon, ix. Son of Atreus, 
king of Mycenae, and the sub- 
ject of one of Maternus's tra- 

lexander the Great, xvi. Eeig:ned 
336-323 B.C. 

ntonius, M., xxxvii. The tri- 
umvir, against whom Cicero 
delivered his 14 Philippics, so- 
called in imitation of Demos- 

per, M., II. See lutrod. pp. 7-8. 
pollodorus of Tergamum, xix. A 
professor of rhetoric, circ. 105- 
23 B.C. He lived mostly at Rome, 
and taught the youthful* Octavi- 

ppius Claudius Caecus, xviii. 
Consul 307 and 296, censor 
3 1 2 B.C., scholar, statesman, jurist , 

poet, and orator. He built the Via 

Archias, A. Liciuius, xxxvii. A 
poet, born at Antioch in Syria. 
He was defended by Cicero in 
62 B.C., when impeached for 
wrong ful registration as a Boman 

Asinius = C. Asinius PoUio, xii 
and xxxiv. He wrote tragedies, 
and also a history of the civil 
war ; 75 B.C. to a.d. 4. See 
Horace, Odes, ii. 1. As an orator 
he advocated, like Calvus, the 
"Attic" style, as against the 
" Asiatic " verbosity of Cicero. 

Asitius, v., XXI. Impeached by 
Calvus for the murder of an 
Egyptian envoy, and successfully 
defended by Cicero. 

Atia, xxviii. Daughter of M. Atius 
Balbus and Caesar's sister Julia, 
wife of Octavius, and mother of 
the Emperor Augustus. 

Attius, xxiii. An otherwise un- 
known orator, whom some identify 
with Cicero's contemporary Q. 
Arrius (Brut. § 242;. 

AugiistiLs, xiii, XVII, xxviii, 
xxxviii. = C. Julius Caesar 
Octavianus Augustus. His reign 
extended from August 1 9, 43 b.c, 
when he entered on his lirst 
consulship, to his death Aug ust 1 9, 

A.D. 14. 

Aurelia, xxviii. Mother of Julius 
Caesar. She was the daughter of 
M. Aurelius Cotta. 



Bassus, Aufidius, XXIII. He wrote 
a history of the Empire, down to 
Claudius; also a narrative of the 
War in Germany. He died under 

Bassus, Saleius, v, ix, x. An epic 
Xwet of some repute, wlio received 
ail honorarium from Vespasian. 

Bestia = L. Calpumius Bestia, 
XXXIX. One of the Catilinariau 
conspirators. In 56 B.C. he was 
unsuccessfully defended by 
Cicero on a charge of ambitus. 

Britannia, xvii. 

Brutus = M. Junius Brutus, xa'ii, 
xviii, XXI, XXV, xxxviii, one of 
Caesar's murderers. Cicero 
praises his eloquence highly, aud 
he was even more distinguished 
in philosophy. He gave his 
name to arhetorical treatise (xxxj 
composed in dialogue form by 
Cicero (46 B.C.). 

Caecixa, Aulus, XX. Cicero de- 
fended him in an extant oration, 
when he was impeached (69 B.C.) 
in connection with a case of 

Caelius = M. CaeUus Eufus, xvii, 


He was an orator of distinction, 
and a correspondent of Cicero's 
who defended him in 06 B.C., 
when he was accused cf sedition 
aud attempted poisoning. He 
lost his life in the civil war, 

48 B.C. 

Caesar = C. Julius Caesar, xvil 


Calvus = C. Licinius Macer Calvus, 
XXVI, xxxiv, XXXVIII. A poet 
himself, he was the friend of 
CatuUus, aud like Catullus an 
opponent of Caesar. 


Canutiufl, xxi. Probably P. 
Canutius, a pleader at the bar, 
who was a contemporary of 

Capua, viiL A city in Campania. 

Carbo = C. Papirius Carbo, xviii, 
xxxiv. An orator of repute, who 
at first Bided with Tib. Gracchus, 
but afterwards went over to the 
constitutional party. Consul 

120 B.C. 

Cassius Severus, xix, xxvi. An 
able pleader, but notorious for 
his scurrilous lampoons. Ho 
was banished under Augustus to 
Crete, and afterwards to Seriphos 
where he died in a.d. 34. 

Catilina = L. Sergius Catilina, 
xxxvii. The famous conspirator, 
against whom in 63 B.C. Cicero 
delivered his great orations. 

Cato = C. Porcius Cato, xxxiv. 
Impeached by Asinins PoUio in 
5 4 B.C. for maladministration 
as iiibtme of the people two 
years previously. He was ac- 

Cato = M. Porcius Cato the elder, 
sumamed the Censor, xviii. He 
was consul 195 b.c. Cicero con- 
sidered him the earliest orator 
whose compositions deserved 

Cato = M. Porcius Cato the 
younger, sumamed L'ticensis, ii, 
III, X. It was the story of his 
resistance to Julius Caesar, aud 
his death after the battle of 
Thapsus (46 B.C.), that Curiatius 
Matcruus, the leading character 
in the Dialogue, fashioned into a 

Cicero, xii, xv, xvi, xvii, xviii, 

XXI, XXII, XXVI, XXX, xxxii 

Claudius, xvii. = Tib. Claudius 
Nero GermauicuB, who reigned 
from a.d. 41 to 54. 


Cornelia, xxvm. The mother of 
the Gracchi. She was the 
(laughter of P. Cornelius Seipio 
Africauua maior, ami the wife of 
Tib. Sempronius Gracchus, the 

Cornelius, C., xxxix. Impeached 
for "maiestas" by P. Cominins 
Spoletinus in 65 B.C., and success- 
fully defended by Cicero. 

Crassus = L. Llcinius Crassus, 
was the g:reatest orator before 
Cicero, who in the De Orntore 
makes him his mouthpiece. He 
was consul in 95 B.C., censor in 
92, and died in 91. 

Crassus = M. Llcinius Crassus the 
triumvir, 114-53 B.C., xxxvii. 

Crispus = Q. Vibius Crispus, viii, 
XIII. A native of Vercellae in 
Cisalpine Gaul, he enjoyed great 
influence under Nero, Vespasian, 
and Domitian, and used his elo- 
quence as a ready weapon of 
attack. He was twice consul 
suffecftis, and survived till about 
A.D. 93. 

Curiones, xxxvn. Three members 
of this family are known as 
orators : the father (praetor in 
121 B.C.), the son (consul in 
76 B.C.), and the grandson, an 
adherent of Julius Caesar 
(tribune in 50 B.C.). 

Deiotarus, XXI. Tetrareh of 
Galatia, with the title of king, 
and an adherent of Pompeius. 
Brutus's speech in his defence 
was delivered in Caesar's presence 
at Nicaea, 46 b.c, but failed of 
its object. 
Demosthenes, xii, xv, xvi,''xxv, 
5 1 XXXII, xxxvii. ---..'^ .^,-»— .. , 
Oiodotus, XXX. A-I Stoic philo- 
sopher, who lived in Cicero's 
house in Borne, and died 

59 B.C. He was also well-versed 
in mathematics and music. 

Dolabella = Cn. Cornelius Dola- 
bella, XXXIV. He had lieen 
consul in 81 B.C., and four years 
later was iiiipeaclied by Caesar 
for extortion in Macedonia, 

Domitins = Cn. Domitius Aheno- 
barbus, xxxv. He was censor 
along with Crassus in 92 B.C. 

Domitius, iii. The title of a 
tragedy by Matcrnus. The hero 
of the piece was probably L. 
Domitius Ahenobarbus, consul 
in 54 B.C., and a bitter opponent 
of Julius Caesar. He was par- 
doned after the capture of Corfi- 
nium, but rejoined the Pompeians 
and fell at Pharsalus. Others 
believe that the subject of the 
tragedy was Cn. Domitius Aheno- 
barbus, consul 32 B.C. — the 
" Enobavbus " of Shakespeare's 
Avtony and Cleopatra. 

Drusus, XXI. A friend and client 
of Cicero, who defended him 
when prosecuted by Calvus. 

Ephesus, XV. City of Ionia. 
Epicurus, XXXI. Founder of the 

Epicurean school of philosophy, 

341-270 B.C. 
Eprius. See Marcellus. 
Euripides, xii. Tragic poet, 480- 

406 B.C. 

Fabius Justus = L. Fabius 
Justus, whose name is inverted 
to "Justus Fabius" in the first 
line of the Dialogun in accord- 
ance with a practice that was 
common in the Silver Age : a 
friend of Pliny the younger, as 
well as of Tacitus, and probably 
identical with the constil suflecUis 
of the year 102 b.c 



Fnrnnis, C, xxi. An orator of the 
time of Cicero. A son of his wnis 
consul, 17 B.C. 

Gabinianus, XXVI. = Sex. Julius 
Gabinianus, a rhetorician of 
oreat repute, anil, like Aper, a 
native of Gaul. He flourished 
after the middle of the first 
century a.d. 

Gains, xvii. = Gains Caesar 
Germanicus (Caligula), Roman 
Emperor from a.d. 37 to 41. 

Galba, xviii and xxv. = Servius 
Snlpicius Galba, a distinguished 
orator, contemporary with 
Laelius and Scipio the younger. 
He was consul 144 b.c. 

Galba, xvii. = Servius Snlpicius 
Galba,emperorfrom June A.D. 68 
to January 69. 

Gallio, XXVI. = L. Junius Gallio, 
a friend of Ovid and the elder 
Seneca, the latter of whom gives 
him great praise as a rhetorician. 
He adopted one of Seneca's sons, 
who took his name and is the 
Gallio known to us from the 
New Testament (Acts xviii. 12), 

Gracchi, xxviii and xl. The 
brothers Tiberius and Gains. 

Gracchus, C. Sempronius, xviii 
and XXVI. The most brilliant 
orator of his time. 

Helvidius, v. = Helvidius 
Prisons, a Stoic of uncompromis- 
ing- principles, praetor in a.d. 70 
and the son-in-law of Paetus 
Thrasea. See Marcellus. 

Hermagoras, xix. Of Temnos, in 
Mysia, the founder of a new 
system of rhetoric which Cicero 
used for his treatise De Tnventione. 
He flourished about 160 B.C., and 
is to be distinguished from a 
younger rhetorician of the same 


name, the pupil of Theodorns 
of Gadara, and a contemporary 
of Augustus. 

Hirtiup, XVII. = A. Hirtius, the 
consul who fell at Mutina, 43 B.C. 

Homerus, xii. 

Horatlns, xx and xxni. 

Hortensius, xvi. The title of a 
lost dialogue of Cicero, to which 
he gave the name of his great 
rival. In it Hortensius seems to 
have att.'icked philosophy from 
the standpoint of an orator, 
while Cicero defended it. 

Hyperides, xii, xvi, xxv. Attic 
orator, 390-322 B.C. 

Jason, ix. The hei-o whom Medea 
helped to win the Golden Fleece. 
He is mentioned in the Dialogue 
as one of the characters in Ma- 
ternus's tragedy Medea. 

Julius. See Africaniis (iikI Se- 

Justus. See Fabius. 

LAELins, C, xxv. Called Sa- 
piens, because of his interest In 
philosophy. He was also a dis- 
tinguished orator, and the inti- 
mate friend of Scipio the younger. 

Lentuli = Cornelii Lentuli, 
xxxvii. There were no fewer 
than five members of this family 
who enjoyed a reputation for 
oratory in the time of Cicero. 
They reached the consulship in 
the years 72, 71, 57, 56, and 
49 B.C. 

Linus, xii. Mentioned along with 
Orpheus as a legendary bard. He 
was lamented in the old AtVo? 
song, so-called from the refrain 
ai AiVo?, or " woe's me for Linus." 
All the myths that gather 
round his name agree in the 
tradition that he died yonng. 


Lucanus, xx. = M. Anuaeus 
Lucauus, A.D. 39-65, the author 
of the Pharsolia, an epic poem 
ilealing with tlie civil war between 
Caesar and Poiupey. 

Lucilius, XXIII. = C. Lucilius, 
180-102 B.C., the satiric poet 
whom Horace made to some ex- 
tent his model. 

Lucretius, xxiii. = T. Lucretius 
Cams, 98-55 B.C., the author of 
the great didactic poem, De 
Reruni Xatura. 

Luculli, XXXVII. = Licinii Lu- 
culli. The gTeat commander 
Lucius, who conquered Mithri- 
dates, and was consul in 74 B.C., 
wrote a history of the Social 
War in Greek. His brother 
Marcus was consul in 73. 

Lyeurg'us, xxv. Attic orator, circ. 
396-325 B.C. 

Lysias, xii and xxv. Attic orator, 
circ. 450-380 B.C. 

Maecenas, xxvi. = C. Cilnius 
Maecenas, ob. 8 B.C., the " prime 
minister " of Augustus, and tlie 
patron of Varius, Vir^l, Horace, 
and Propertius. 

Marcellus, v, viii, xiii. = T. 
Clodius Eprius Marcellus, who 
gained great influence as a 
delator or informer under Nero, 
and became consul suffectus in 
A.D. 61. His Impeachment of 
Thrasea Paetus brought him into 
collision with Thrasea's son-in- 
law, Helvidius Priscus. After 
acting as pro-consul in Asia, 
Marcellus again became consul 
suffectus in a.d. 74, and must 
therefore have been at the height 
of liis power at the date wlien 
the Dialogue is assumed to have 
taken place. Afterwards, he 
conspired against Vespasian, and 

was driven to commit suicide in 
A.D. 79. 

Matemus = Curiatius Maternus, 
the poet-pleader who figures as 
the central personage of the 
Dialogue. See Introd. pp. 7 
and 11. 

Meneuius Agrippa, xvri and xxi. 
The author of the famous apo- 
logue of the " Belly and Its 
Members," by which in 494 B.C. 
he induced the plebeians to 
return from their secession to the 
]\rons Sacer. He figures in 
Shakespeare's Coriolanus, 

Messalla, xii, xvii, xviii, xx, xxi. 
= M. Valerius Messalla Corvinus, 
64 B.c.-A.D. 8. Orator, soldier, 
and statesman. He was consul 
in 31 B.C. See Horace, Odes 
III. 21. 

Messalla, xiv. = Vipstanus Mes- 
salla, probably a descendant of 
the foregoing, and in any case a 
man of noble lineage, born about 
A.D. 46. He commanded a legion 
for Vespasian, and wrote a history 
of the struggle with Vitellius. 
He was also a great orator. For 
his part in the Dialogue, see 
Introd. p. 8. 

Metelli, xxxvii. = Caecilii Metclli. 
To this family belonged Jletellus 
Celer and Metellus Nepos, the 
former of whom was consul in 
60 B.C., and the latter in 57 b.c. 
It was Metellus Nepos who 
attacked Cicero on the expiry 
of his consulship in 63. 

Metrodorus, xxxr. A distinguished 
follower of Epicurus, 330-277 


Milo, XXXVII and xxxix. = T. 
Annius Milo, whom Cicero de- 
fended unsuccessfully when he 
was brought to trial for the 
death of P. Clodius PiUcher in 

52 B.C. 



Miicianns, xxxvrr. = C. Licinins 
Mncianus, the well - known 
lieutenant of Vespasian, who 
broiiijht about his elevation to 
the purple. He was consul 
siijfectiis in 66,70, and 72, and is 
understood to have died in the 
course of the year 77. 

Mucins, XXX. = Q. Mucins 
Scaevola, surnamed the Augur, 
cire. 160-88 B.C. He was the 
friend and son-in-law of Laelius, 
and the father-in-law of the 
orator Crassus. The family to 
which he belonged had an heredi- 
tary talent for law. Cicero 
studied under him when quite a 
young man, and after his death 
under his nephew also, Scaevola 

Mytilenae, xv. A city in Lesbos. 

Xero, XI and xvii. = Xero 
Claudius Caesar Drusus Ger- 
manicuSjWho reigned from a.d. 54 
to 68. 

Nestor, xvi. Cited by Aper as an 
ideal example of tlie oratory of 
Homeric times. 

Xicetes, xv. = Sacerdos Xicelcs, 
a distinguished rhetorician from 
Smyrna, who had riiny the 
younger for a pupil at Rome. 

Xicostratus, x. Of Cilicia, a famous 
athlete In the earlier part of 
the first century. In a.d. 50, 
he was proclaimed victor at 
Olympia on one and the same 
dfiy for the 77a-yKpoTio>' and for 

Xoniauus, xxiii. = M. Servilius 
Xoniauns, orator and historian. 
He was consul a.d. 35 and died 
A.D. 60. 

Orpheus, xit. Mythical bard, and 
representative of the Thracian 
eult of Dionysus. 


Otho, xvir. = Marcus Salvins 
Otlio, Emperor from January to 
April A.D. 69. 

Ovidius, XII. = P. Ovidius 
43 B.C. -A.D. 17. Of his Medea 
only two lines are extant. 

Pacuvius, M., XIX. Roman 
tragedian, circ. 220-132 B.C. 

Pansa, xvii. = C. Vibius Pansa, 
who fell at Mutina in 43 B.C. 
along with Hirtius, his colleague 
in tlio con^iilshi;). 

Pedius, Q., xvii. Made consul 
snffectus along with Octavian on 
August 19, 43 B.C. 

Peripatetiei, xxxi. Members of the 
school founded by Aristotle, who 
wrote on rhetoric, as well as on 

Philip of Macedon, xvi. Reigned 
359-336 B.C. 

Philo, XXX. An Academic philo- 
sopher, who fled from Atliens to 
Rome during the first Jlithridatic 
war, and taught Cicero philo- 

Plato, XXXI and xxxii. 

PoUio. See Asinius. 

Pompeius, xxxvii, xxxviii, xl. 
= Cn. Pompeius Magnus, the 
triumvir, lOG-48 B.C. He was 
highly thought of also asan orator 
and a stylist. 

Pomponius. See Secundus. 

Porcius. See Cato. 

QuiXTius, XXXVII. = P. Quintius, 
defended by Cicero in 61 B.C. on 
a civil charge. The speech is 

Roscics, XX. = Q. Roscius Gallus, 
a great actor who was also a man 
of liljeral culture. He was on 
intimate terms with Sulla, Hor- 
tensius, as well as with Cicero, 
who took lessons from him in the 


art of de^clamation, ami defended 
him ill an extant oration. He 
died sliortly before 62 B.C. 

Sackrdos. See Nieetes. 

Saleius. -See Bassiis. 

Seaurus, xxxix. = M. Aemilius 
Scauru8, snccessfully defended in 
the year 54 B.C. by six advocates, 
one of whom was Cicero, on a 
charge of malversation when 
praetor in Sardinia two years 

Scipio, XL. P. Cornelius Scipio 
Afrieanus the elder. For the 
attacks oo him in 187 B.C., in 
connection with his conduct Of 
the war against Antiochus, see 
Livy, 38, 50 sqq. 

Secundus, ii. = Julius Secundus, 
the friend and contemporary of 
Quintiliau, a native of Gaul, wlio 
enjoyed a high reputation for 
eloquence. For the part he took 
iu the Dialogue, see Introduc- 
tlou p. 9. 

Secundus, xiii. = P. Pomponius 
Secundus, a man of affairs as well 
as a poet of repute. He was 
ronstil sujjfectus in a.d. 44, and 
defeated the Chatti as legatus in 
Upper Germany in 50. His 
friend, Pliny tlie elder, wrote 
his life in two books. 

Servilius. See Nonianus. 

Severus. See Cassius. 

Siseuna, xxiii. = L. Cornelius 
Sisenna, 120-67 B.c: He wrote 
a history of his own time. 

Sophocles.xii. Tlie great tragic poet. 

Stoici, XXXI. The "philosophers of 
the Porch." 

Sulla, XL. = L. Cornelius Sulla, 
dictator, 82-79 B.C. 

Tiberius, xvii. = Tiberius 

Claudius Neroi emjjeror a.d. 

Tiro, XVII. = M. Tnllius Tiro, 
Cicei'o's freed man and biographer. 

Toranius, xxi. An otherwise un- 
known orator. 

Tullius, M., XX. Kaised an action 
against one of Sulla's veteraiis, 
who had t.aken forcible possession 
of his villa at Thurii, Cicero 
acted as his advocate, and de- 
livered two speeches (72 or 71 
B.C.), the second of which exists 
in a fragmentary condition. 
The other is wholly lost. 

Turpio, XX. L. Ambivius Turplo, 
the most famous actor of his 
time. He was a contemporary 
of Cato the censor, in the first 
half of the second century B.C., 
and appeai-ed in many of tlie 
plays of Terence, 

Ulixes, XVI. Cited by Apcr as a 
model of Homeric oratory. 

Urbinia, xxxviii. A Roman lady 
whose estate became the subject 
of litigation .after her decease. 

Varius, xti. = L. Varius Rufus, 
the friend of Virgil and Horace 
(74-14 B.C.), who had gained a 
high reputation as an epic poet 
before he took to tragedy. 

Varro, xxiii. = M. Terentius 
VaiTo, 116-27 B.C., a man of the 
widest accomplishments — his- 
torian, grammarian, antiquarian, 
as well as orator. 

Vatinius, P., xxi, xxxiv, xxxix. 
He was tribune in 59 B.C., when 
he espoused Caesar's intei'ests, and 
next year became consul along 
with Bibulus. He was subse- 
quently accused at least three 
times by Calvus, and Cicero, who 
had originally been on the other 
side, was induced by Caesar to 
defend him (54 b.c). 

36 1 


Vatinius, xr. The cobbler from 
Beneventnm, one of the most 
disreputable of Nero's favourites, 
of whom Tacitus gives a famous 
description in Aim. xv. 34. 

Verccllae, viii. City in Cisalpine 

Yergilius. = P. Vergilins Maro, 


Verres, C, xx, xxxvii. The 

famous, or infamous, ffovemor of 
Sicily (73-71 B.C.), whose mis- 
deeds were exposed by Cicero in 
his Verriue orations. 

Vespasianns, vin, ix, xvii. = T. 
Flavins Vespasianu.s, Roman 
emperor from Dec. a.u. 09 to 79. 

Vil)iu8. See Crispus. 

Vipstaniis. .SVe Mes.s.TlIa. 

Yitcllins, xvri. Aulus Vitellius, 
omiieror from April to Deceniljer 
A.r>. 09 (or only to July 1 of 
that year, if we take the date on 
whicli Vespasian was saluted as 
emperor by the army in the 

Xenophon, xxxt. The well-known 
Greek historian, 434-355 B.C. 



Agricola, passim. 
Albau citadel, xlv. 
Aqiiitaiue, ix. 
Arulenus, ii, XLV. 
Asia, VI, XLii. 
Atticus, XXXVII. 
Augustus, XIII. 


Bodotria (Forth), xxiii, xxv. 

Bolanus, viii, xvr. 

Boresti, xxxviii. 

Boudicca, xvi. 

Brigantes, xvii, xxxi. 

Britanui, jinssim. 

Britanuia, x, xii, xiii-xvir, 


Caesar, Gaius (Calig-ula), iv, xiii, 


„ Julius, XIII, XV. 

„ Xorva, III. 

„ Trnjaii, iii, xliv. 
Caledonia, x, xi, xxv, xxvii, xxxi. 
Calgacus, xxix, xxxi-xxxiii. 
CaruS, xlv. 
Cerialis (Civica), xlii. 

„ (Petilius), VIII, XVII. 
Clota (Clyde), xxiii. 
Cogidumnus, xiv. 
CoUega, XLiv. 

Dacia, xli. 

Domitia, vi, xliv, xlv. 

Domitian, i, ii, vii, xxxix-xlv. 

FoROJULiENSiUM colonia, iv. 


Frisii, xxviii. 
Frontiuus, xvu. 

Galea, vl 

Galli, XI, XXI, xxxii. 

Gallia, x, xl 

Gallicum marc, xxiv. 

Gallus, xiA'. 

Germani, xi, xv, xxviii, xxxii. 

Germania, x, xlt. 

Graecinus, iv. 

Graupius (Mount), xxix. 


Hispania, x, xi, xxiv. 

Iberi, XI. 
Intimilium vii. 

LiVY, X. 

Massa, xlv. 
Massilia, iv. 
Mauricus, xlv. 
Maximus, xvi. 
Messaliiius, xlv. 
Moesia, xli. 
Mona, XIV, xviii. 
Muclanus, vii. 

Nero, vi, xlv. 

Orcades (Orkneys), x. 
Ordovices, xviiL 
Otlio (Caesar), vil' 
„ Salvius Titiauus, vi. 




Pannonia (Hnng-arv), xli. 
Paiiliniis, V. xiv. xvi. 
Planlius, xiv. 
Priseus, II, XLV. 
Procilla, iv, vii. 


Rnsticus (Fabins), x. 

Scapula, xiv. 

Scanrus. i. 

Senecio, ii, XLV. 

Silanus, iv. 

Silurea (South TTales), xi, xvii. 

Suebi, xx^TiT. 
Syria, xi,. 

(Tacitus), iv, ix, xxiv. xliii- 


Tanaus, xxri. 

Thyle, x. 

Tiberius, xiii. 

Truccuk'usis (portus). xxxviii. 

Tuugri, XXXVI. 

Turpilianus, xvi. 

Usipi, xxviii. 

Verands, xiv. 

Vespasian, vii, ix, xiii, xvii. 

II. subject-matter 

Auxiliaries in the Roman army, 


Auxiliary cavalry, xviii. xxxv- 


Baths in Britain, xxi. 

Britain's chiefs and king's, xn. 


climate and products, xii. 
»old and silver mines, xn. 
insularity, x. 
Roman forts, xiv, xvi, xx, 

short nights, xii. 
vrar-chariots, xxxv, xxxvi. 
Britons and Gauls, xi, xxi. 

attitude to Kome, xiii, xxi, 
xxix. xxxii. 

Colchester, v, xvi. 

Games held by Agricola as 
Praetor, \i. 

Immortalitv of sonl. xlvi. 
Ireland, xxxv. 

Laurelled despatches, xvni. 

Ocean, x, xii, xxv. 

Patricians, ix. 

Pearls round British coast, xii. 

Philosophy (and Roman senators), 


Physical geography, xii. 

Roman baths and fora and templa 
and toqa in Britain, xxl 

colonies and municipia in 
Britain, xiv, xvi, x.xxii. 

fleet, X, xxv, xxix, xxxviii. 

procurators, ix. 

requisitions of grain, xix. 

triumyiri capitales (execu- 
tioners), II. 

Tacitus' geography of Britain 
and Ireland, &c., x, xxiv. 
physical geography, xn. 
reflections on culture, xxi. 
reflections on marriage, vi. 
reflections on Stoicism, xxix 





Abnoba Mons, the Black Forest, i. 
Aestii, Esthouia ; a tribe on the 

frontiers of Eastern Prussia and 

the Baltic, xlv. 
Agrippinenses, the inhabitants of 

the Koman colony now Cologne, 


Albis, the River Elbe, xli. 

Alci, twin-gods, the German Castor 

and Pollux, xliii. 
Anglii, the ancestors of the Angles 

and Anglo-Saxons, xl. 
Augrivarii, trek from the Weser to 

the Ems, xxxiii. 
Aravisci, on the south bank of the 

Danube, in modern Hungary, 


Asciburgium, town on the Khine, 

founded according to legend by 

Ulysses, m. 
Augusta "Vindelicorum, Augsburg 

in Bavaria, xli. 
Aviones, occupants of the islands 

ofl Schleswig, xl. 

Bastarnae = Peucini, in modern 
Poland ; the first German tribe 
to appear in Komau history, 


Batavi, in modern Holland, and 
before that in Hesse, xxix. 

Boihaemum, Bavaria or Bohemia, 
the original home of the Boii, 

Boii, a Gallic tribe in Germany 
expelled from their German 
home and afterwards replaced by 
the Marcomani, xxviii, 

Bructeri, belonging to modern 
Westphalia, annihilated bj- other 
tribes, xxxiii. 

Buri, a tribe of the Kieseugebirge, 


Caepio, Koman general defeated 
by the Cimbri, xxxvii. 

Caesar Augustus loses three legions 
under Vanis to Arminius and his 
Cherusci, xxxvri. 

Caesar Gains (Caligula) — farci- 
cal triumph over Germans, 

Caesar Julius cited as an historian 


Caesar Julius defeated the Germans 
in Gaul, xxxvii. 

Carbo Papirius defeated by the 
Cimbri, xxxvii. 

Cassius Longinus defeated by the 
Cimbri, xxxvii. 

Castor and Pollux, xliii. 

Chamavi, a people who trekked 
from the Lower Rhine to the 
Middle Ems, xxxxii. 

Chasuarii, occupants of a part of 
modern Oldenburg, xxxiv. 

Chatti, a German tribe, including 
the Batavi, whose name survives 
in Hesse. They occupied the 
Hercyniau forest and were con- 
terminous with it. Approach 
Romans in discipline and fight 
wars no less than battles. Bind 
themselves by picturesque Na- 
zarite vows, xxix, xxx, xxxi. 



Chaufi, occupiints of the country 
between the Ems and the Elbe. 
Noblest and most civilised of the 
German tribes, neither devotees 
of militarism nor yet incapable 
of it, XXXV. 

Cherusci, occupants of Brunswick. 
Conquerors under Arminius of 
Varus and his Koman legions ; 
afterwards sjink into pacifism. 
I'ossible ancestors of the Saxons, 


Cimbri, occupants of modern 
Denmark ; a small state rich iu 
warlike memories, and famous 
for a great trek, xxxvii. 

Cotini, a tribe of Gallic (V) speech 
of the Riesengebirge. Have 
iron-miue.s and make no use of 
them, XLiii. 

Crassus, defeated and slain by the 
Parthiaus, xxxvii. 

Daci, bordering on Germany, in 
southern Russia, I. 

Danube, i, iii, xxix, xli, xlii. 

Decnmates agTi, tithe - reserves, 
covering part of modern AViir- 
temberg and dedicated to the 
support of the Roman armies in 
the two Roman provinces of 
Gcrmania Inferior and Superior, 

Drusus, brother of Titerius, xxxiv, 


Dulgubrii, in modern Hanover, 


Elisii, a iribe of modem Poland, 


Eudoses, identified with the Jutes 
of Jutland, xl. 

Feum, the modern Lapps, XLVi. 
Fosi, neighbours and dependents 

and partners in affliction with 

the Clierusci, xxxvi. 


Frisii, inhabitants of Frieslaud, 


Gambrivii, ii. 

Germani, ii, xvi, xxviii, xxxi, 


Germania, i-v, xxvii, xxviii, xxx 


Gennanicus, xxxvii. 
Gotones, the Goths (on the right 
bank of the Vistula), XLiv. 

Harii, a tribe of Polish Prussia, 


Hellusii, a tribe of Poland, xliii. 
Helvecones, a trilx; of Poland 

Hercules, his pillars iu the Baltic, 


Hercynius saltus, the mountains of 
South Germany, including the 
Riesengebirge and Saxon Swit- 
zerland, XXVIII-XXX. 

Isi.s, worshipped by the Suebi, ix. 

LAERTE.S, recorded in a Germanic 

inscription, iii. 
Langobardi, the Lombards, XL. 
Lemovii, a tribe of Pomerania, 


Liigii, occupying Poland, perhaps 
Sclaves, ancestors of the Vandals 
and Biu'gundiaus, xliii. 

Mannus, son of the god Tuisto, ii. 

Marcomani, a German tribe of 
borderers, on the north bank of 
the Danube, xlii. 

MaroboduuB, king of the Marco- 
mani, XLII. 

Mars, IX. 

Mater deum, worshipped by the 
Aestii, XLV. 

Mercurius, ix. 

Moenus, the River Main, xxviii. 


Nerthus, Terra mater, worshipped 
by tlie tribes of Schleswig, 
Jutland, and Mecklenburf;-, xl. 

Nervii, a tribe claiming: German 
origin, but settled west of the 
Ehine in Belgium, xxviii. 

Osi, a tribe north of the Danube, 


Pannonia, the western part of 

Hungarj-, i, v, xxviii, xliii. 
Peucini, see Bastarnac. 

Khenus, the Rliiuc, i, ii, xxviii, 


Kugii, neighbours of the Lemovii, 


Sarmatae, occupying large parts 
of modern Kussia = Scythians, 

1, XI.III, XI,VI. 

Semnones,a tribe occupying modern 
Brandenburg; the most ancient 
tribe of the Suebi, and the de- 
positaries of a primitive ^\orship, 


Sitones, a tribe occupying modern 
Finland ruled by its women, 


Suebi, the largest of the tribes of 
Germany, perhaps = Serbs or 

Servians, xxxviii, xxxix, xli 


Suiones, modern Sweden, xliv. 

Tencteri, a tribe of horsemen on 
the east bank of the Rhine, xxxii. 

Treviri, a tribe west of the Rhine 
about Treves, claiming to be 
Germans, xxviii 

Tuisto, a primaeval German god, ii. 

Ubii, transferred by Agrippa to 
the west bank of the Rhine and 
erected by Claudius into a Roman 
colony (Cologne), xxviii. 

Ulysses, said to have visited 
Germany, iii. 

Vandilii, a German tribe covered 
by the title Lugii perhaps ; 
afterwards famous as conquerors 
(Andalusia), ii, xlui. 

Velaeda, a German prophetess, viii. 

Venedi, a German or Sarmatian 
tribe, confused in the MSS. with 
Veueti, the Veuetiaus, xlvi. 

Ventidius, a mule-driver who rose 
to be consul and avenged thy 
defeat of Crassus at Carrhae by 
a victory over the same enemy 
OBI the same day fifteen years 
later, June 9, 53 B.C. and 38 B.C. 



Adultery, penalty of, xix. 

Amber, xlv. 

Arms in daily life, xi, xiii,, xv, 


Auspices, X. 

Autumn, unknown, xxvi. 

Ballads, ii. 
Balsam, xlv. 
Banquets, xxil. 
Battle-cry, iii. 
Boundary-lines, xxix. 

Canton.s (pagi), vi, xii, xxxix. 

Cavalry, xxxii. 

Chiefs, v, x, xi, xii, xiii, xv, 

xxii, xxxviii. 
Children, xix, xx, xxv. 
Cities, XVI. 
Coins, V. 

Councils, VI, xi-xiii. 
Cows, XL. 
Cremation, xxvii. 

Deification viii. 



Deity, xliii. 
Doiver, xviii. 
Dress, XVII. 
Drink, xxiii. 
Drunkenness, xxiii. 

Education, xx. 

Fetisue.s, XL. 

Food, xxiii. 

Forests, v, xxviii, XL. 

Freeborn and slaves, xxv. 

Freedmeu, xxv. 

Funerals, xxvii. 

Gambling, xxiv. 

Gifts, XV. 

Gods, no temples or iujages of, ix., 

Gold and silver, v. 
Groves, ix, xl, xlv. 

Heirs, xx. 

Hercules, Pillars of, xxxiv. 
Homicide, xxi. 
Horses, vi, x. 
Hospitality, xxi. 
Houses, XVI, XLvi. 
Human sacrifice, ix, xxxix. 
" Hundreds," vi, xii. 
Hunting, xv, xlvi. 

Infantry, xxx. 
Interest on money, xxvi. 
Iron, VI, XLiii, XLVI. 

Kings, VII, ix, xi, xii, xlii, xliv. 
Knowledge and piety, xxxiv, xl. 

Land tenirre, xxvi. 
Letliargy,xi, xiv, xv,xxvi, xxviii, 


Letter-writing', xix. 

Marriage, xvii, xviii, xix. 
Matriarchate, xx. 
Money, v, xv, xxii. 

Night, xi, xliii. 
Nobles, viii, xxv, xliv. 
Nurses, xx. 

Ocean, i, ii, hi, xvii, xxxiv, xliv. 

Piety and knowledge, xxxiv, xl 

Pit dwellings, xvi. 

Polygamy, xvii. 

Priests, vii, x, xi, xl, xliii. 

Prophetesses, viii. 

Punishments, xii, xix, xxi. 

Retinue, xiii, xiv. 
Kome, affinities or contrasts with 
or reflections on, viii, xviii, xix 
XX, xxv, xxx, XXXVIII. 
friendship with, xxix, xli. 
supports native kings, xlii. 
Kunes, x. 

Sacrifices, ix. 

Sea, Baltic, xlv. 

Ships, XLIV. 

Shows, XXIV. 

Slaves, XX, xxiv, xxv. 

Sun, sound of its rising, xlv. 

Temples, ix, xl. 
Totems, vii, xl. 

Uncle, maternal, xx. 
Usury, xxvi. 

Vendetta, xxi. 

Villages, xii, xvi, xviii, xxvl 

Vows, Nazarite and other, xxxi. 

Weapons, vi. 

Wergeld, xxi. 

Widows, XIX. 

Wills, XX. 

Women, vii, viii, xvii, xlv. 

Youth, habits of, xx. 


The Spanish traders, to avoid the storms of 
the Bay of Biscay, appear to have launched 
themselves well to the west in their trading 
voyages : hence the first land they made was 
Ireland rather than Great Britain. To this 
canse is perhaps due the geographical displace- 
ment of these isUmds in the maps of the old 
geographers, ajid Tacitus, if he misconceived 
geography, was right enough about trade 

The idea of the Pyrenees running north and 
.wutk was common to the geographers up to and 
including Straho, and may well have been shared 
by Tacitus. 




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Stun/onli Geog^^Estab^LonSbn. 



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